Archive | September, 2012

Growing stronger

Growing stronger

Posted on 27 September 2012 by admin

By Rachel Gross Weinstein

The mission of Dallas Connect is simple: to provide Jewish sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders with fun, innovative programs and allow them to connect with other Jewish teens in the community.

The program, which just started its second year, is a joint initiative between BBYO Dallas and the Aaron Family JCC and is run by BBYO Dallas program director Tracy Davis, and JCC youth director Abbii Cook. They said many events in the community are geared toward younger children or high school students, but Dallas Connect meets the needs of the sixth- through eighth- grade demographic that may not be involved in other programs.

“I work with sixth- through eighth-graders all summer at camp, but during the school year, there isn’t a lot of programming for them,” Cook said. “This is a great way for them to stay connected, be involved in the Jewish community and prepare them for whatever high school youth group they plan to be involved with.”

From left are Alec Shea, Julia Goldman, Emma Abelman, Aaron Goldman, Harli Goldstein, Dylan Kort, Jackie Roberts and Addyson Rosenthal in front of the American Airlines Center during the scavenger hunt. | Photos: Rachel Gross Weinstein

The first Dallas Connect event of the new school year took place Sept. 9 with a limousine scavenger hunt that attracted about 60 kids — newcomers and holdovers from last year. They travelled to a park, Mockingbird Station and Victory Park in downtown Dallas and performed various tasks.

Other events on tap for the 2012-2013 year include a day of community service at the North Texas Food Bank; a trip to a Mavericks game; an overnight at Group Dynamix, an indoor team building center in Carrollton; a Shabbat pot luck; a trip to Six Flags; and Top Chef: Chanukah Edition, among others.

Two programs will be offered each month, with each focusing on either community service or a social activity.

“This is the pre- and post-bar and bat mitzvah age, and it is important for them to stay connected to their religion and have something for them to relate to,” Davis said. “What’s nice is that we saw a lot of new faces at our first event, but also had many of the teens who participated last year. We are happy that we are able to provide that connection for these teens.”

Before Cook and Davis united to create Dallas Connect last year, the program was solely part of BBYO and called Teen Connection; one program per month was offered for sixth- through eighth-graders.

When Cook learned about this, she asked Davis if she wanted to partner in order to grow the program and give middle schoolers another outlet to connect Jewishly. From there, Dallas Connect was born and has grown from the 20 to 25 kids that attended each program last year.

Addyson Rosenthal and Jackie Roberts enjoy the limo ride during the Dallas Connect scavenger hunt on Sept. 9.

Although not every event is totally Jewish related, Cook and Davis believe that building relationships with each other while doing service projects and group activities will make Jewish kids stay connected to Judaism and help them become future Jewish leaders.

“There are not always innate Jewish values within our events, but it’s about peoplehood and kehillah, community,” Cook said. “It is wonderful when Jewish teens can hang out with each other in any way and, hopefully, we are connecting teens who may not otherwise meet.”

Davis added, “We want to offer kids a feeling of connectedness and give them reasons to come back. This is a fun program for them.”

Dylan Kort and Alex Shea, both eighth-graders who belong to Temple Shalom, attended many Dallas Connect programs last year, as well as the Sept. 9 scavenger hunt. They said what they enjoy most is getting to know other Jewish teens.

“The programs are fun and we get to meet so many new people,” Dylan said. “I really enjoyed the scavenger hunt because the best part was getting to ride around town in a limo.”

Added Alex: “The best part for me is that I have gotten to know people who don’t go to my synagogue. It’s really great.”

Dallas Connect is a non-denominational program open to every Jewish sixth- through eighth- grader in the community. For more information, contact Cook at 214-239-7189 or, or Davis at 214-363-4654 or

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Different strokes for different Jews

Different strokes for different Jews

Posted on 27 September 2012 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

I’m writing this immediately after Rosh Hashanah, for you to read immediately after Yom Kippur. It’s “inspired” by my husband’s comments as we left synagogue on the holiday’s first day, about how many people were talking during services — and not about what was happening on the bimah. Is the socializing factor something new, or increasing?

This made me think back to my second college year. I was attending a city school as a commuter from the home of my parents, who were titular members of a nearby Orthodox shul. My father actually refused to enter any synagogue voluntarily, claiming his knuckles had been cracked once too often during childhood Hebrew school days, while my mother maintained her contact as a sisterhood activist and even president.

As high-schoolers, High Holy Days for me and my friends meant meeting each other outside one synagogue to show off our new outfits, then moving on to other shuls to meet other friends and do more of the same. (This is possible only in areas with a concentrated Jewish population offering a variety of worship possibilities within easy walking distance. As a result, we kids didn’t do much praying…)

But I suddenly “got religion” at the university as one of a vocal Jewish minority in matters interfaith, and I became dedicated to taking a seat in shul early and remaining there until all was over, an especially praiseworthy (I thought) feat on Yom Kippur.

My boyfriend of that particular year was a local whose parents were regulars at the same Orthodox synagogue, and since my parents would not be there for Neilah (truth be told, not for anything that went on before, either), they invited me to break the fast with them at their home.

Of course, I said yes. But also of course, when they were ready to leave in advance of the final shofar blast in order to get food on the table for others coming afterward, I refused to go with them. All these years later, I still redden with shame over my smug, sophomoric chutzpah: I actually told them that my religion was more important to me than any dinner. Does this win the holier-than-thou prize?

Over many years I’ve had many holiday experiences with congregations in all three major Jewish streams. The extremes I’ve noted run from strict discipline in great Classic Reform temples, where every word of the old Union Prayer Book was uttered in vocal lockstep by determined worshipers taking offense at the very presence, let alone sounds, of small children in the sanctuary, to the chaos of upstairs women’s sections in old Orthodox shuls where everyone was reading from a different prayer book at the same time, with zero possibility of anyone being on the same page, quite literally, as anyone else.

Does a “rule” of conversational no-no make for a more uplifting worship experience? Does intense personal involvement in prayer do the same? Does talking to your neighbor about anything other than what words you should be saying or reading at the moment make anyone less Jewish than those who treasure absolute silence, or those who daven loudly, simultaneously, to the beats of their own drummers?

Times change, and Judaism changes with it. Reform congregations now offer flexibility in worship forms, including some informal services with music far from the kind provided by stately organs, confounding “old guard” classicists. Orthodox synagogues now provide the same prayer books for all women, who no longer need indigenous leaders of the kind my Boubby the Philosopher once was, telling her cohort when the proper times were to beat their breasts and cry during Yom Kippur services.

A Conservative synagogue is my spiritual home today, as it was when I was of pre-college age. Then, mine was a tiny shul in a two-story house owned by a widow of the congregation. Downstairs, most of the religious school classes met in various sections of the single large room that was actually the sanctuary, while the oldest students were promoted to upstairs, where privacy and some homemade snacks accompanied their study. I can truly say today, echoing Robert Fulghum’s kindergarten epiphany, that I learned everything Jewish I need to know in Mrs. Simon’s kitchen.

Mostly, I learned that it’s OK for some Jews to be different from other Jews. And that if some people want to talk during services, even on the High Holy Days, they can still be Jewish anyway. And that, without a doubt, I missed a great break-the-fast meal at Mrs. Barsky’s table.

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Tzedakah should be a habit

Tzedakah should be a habit

Posted on 27 September 2012 by admin

By Laura Seymour

On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, there was an article in The Dallas Morning News’ business section on giving trends — rather timely as we spend our days thinking of tshuvah, tefillah and tzedakah.

Families in the most popular “Jewish ZIP codes” gave an average of about 4.1-6 percent of their incomes to charity. Not the highest, but not the lowest. It was, however, lower than recommended by Jewish law. What should this tell us as we look to the new year? Let the statistics be a gauge for us to look at our own giving as we plan for the coming year.

It is not for each of us to judge what others give or to make up for what is lacking. But as a Jewish educator I want to challenge you to think, plan and teach your children.

In preparation for Rosh Hashanah, Yossi Prager posted an interesting question on “Jewish Philanthropy, The Blog:” “Imagine you had $1,000 in personal funds to give directly to needy people. Would you give it to a single family to cover their grocery bills for five weeks or give $1 each to 1,000 people?”

Prager gives his personal response, but then gives the argument from a 12th century Jewish thinker: “Maimonides argues that it is best to give one dinar to 1,000 people rather than make one grand gift. Maimonides’ reasoning is that the grand gift may be effective in alleviating one person’s need in a significant way but will not transform the personality of the giver. By contrast, Maimonides says, the habit developed by 1,000 small, repeated gifts would transform the giver into a more generous person.”

Prager continues: “First, our character traits develop through small, consistent steps, not grand actions. Second, the purpose of Jewish charity law extends beyond alleviating suffering. We give not only to improve the lives of others but also to improve our own characters.”

Many years ago, a parent at the Aaron Family JCC preschool questioned why we have our children come up and put money in the tzedakah box. She said she felt that her son should wait until he has his own money and understands giving. I asked her if her son brushes his teeth or will he wait until he has permanent teeth? She looked at me aghast and told me he has been brushing for years — it’s important to get into the habit of brushing.

We laughed together, and she admitted that she got it — giving tzedakah is a habit. We want our children to get into the habit early. Giving helps others and ourselves.

Laura Seymour is director of Jewish life and learning and director of camping services at the Aaron Family JCC.

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Sukkot marks Clouds of Glory’s return

Sukkot marks Clouds of Glory’s return

Posted on 27 September 2012 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Rabbi,

I have often wondered if there’s a reason that the holidays of Yom Kippur and Sukkot fall so closely together. Is it a coincidence, or is there some connection between the two?

— Lee W.

Dear Lee,

The two holidays are actually intertwined in a deep way. We’ll try to touch on some of the connections.

When sitting in the sukkah, according to one opinion in the Talmud, we celebrate the booths the Jews sat in when leaving Egypt. Another opinion is that we commemorate the miraculous Clouds of Glory, which protected and shaded the Jewish people during the 40 years of travels in the desert.

Those Clouds of Glory actually disappeared when the Jews lost their deep connection through the sin of the golden calf. They were almost destroyed due to this sin, equated to idol worship, so soon after receiving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. Then began a three-month period of prayer and repentance, eventually leading up to the day when God finally uttered to Moses, “I have forgiven as you requested.” This is the day that became known as Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

Although the Jews were forgiven, God’s divine presence, the Shechinah, still remained removed from them. To not have the loving connection they had enjoyed since they left Egypt, feeling God’s tangible presence among them, was a deep source of sorrows to the Jews. Their chance to return the Shechinah to the camp of the Jews was to build the Tabernacle, a kind of movable golden Temple that would travel with them throughout their sojourn in the desert.

The commandment to build the Tabernacle was given to Moses the day after Yom Kippur. The next day, Moses transmitted the commandment. The following two days, the Jews began gathering the necessary materials to construct this edifice, and the day thereafter they began the long, difficult process of building the tabernacle.

That was five days after the first Yom Kippur, the 15th of the month of Tishrei. God, on that day, to show His pleasure that the Jews had fully repented and desired His presence so badly, returned the Clouds of Glory that had been remiss since the golden calf. That was a day of incredible joy and ecstasy among the people, as they saw their repentance was complete, their eternal connection to God irrevocable.

That day, the 15th of Tishrei, is the first day of Sukkot. It is the day of celebration of the Clouds of Glory — not the clouds that accompanied the Jews from the day they left Egypt, but the clouds that returned after their repentance at Yom Kippur.

This is one reason that Sukkot, more than any holiday, is referred to in the prayer book/siddur as “the time of our joy.”

All the Jewish holidays carry with them a mitzvah to be joyous, but Sukkot transcends the others in this way. I’ll illustrate it with an example. Imagine a mother sitting in the waiting room, her eyes filled with tears, not knowing if her son’s risky operation will work, his life holding on barely by a thread. Suddenly, the doctor emerges, “Lady, a miracle’s happened, it worked. Your son’s going to live and be fine.”

Those tears of pain and fear are transformed into tears of joy, her joy and ecstasy going far beyond the joy many could imagine.

The Jews were nearly destroyed because of the golden calf, their existence held on by a thread. Tears of joy finally replaced their tears of repentance when those Clouds of Glory were returned. It was the ultimate celebration of Yom Kippur’s message of mercy and forgiveness, that their eternity is secure.

This remains our joy on Sukkot until today. It is the joy that year after year, generation after generation, God continues to forgive us on Yom Kippur, and despite every attempt to destroy us and all we’ve done wrong throughout our history, the miracle of Jewish survival is still intact, and we’re still here to sit in our booths today.

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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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 27 September 2012 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Last week, we mentioned that Cynthia and Allan Mondell will be honored at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 30, with a documentary retrospective at the Dallas Videofest. As the week has progressed, we have learned there are more Dallas connections to the festival, which started its 25th installment yesterday. On the slate for its silver anniversary are two films with Dallasites at their heart.

“The Playroom,” featuring Dallas native Olivia Harris (right, with Molly Parker) will be featured at Videofest 25 at 9 p.m today at the Dallas Museum of Art. | Photo: Croft Fite

You may remember our Aug. 9 article on Olivia Harris, daughter of Holly Kuper and the late Hugh Harris, and her role in “The Playroom.” She plays Maggie, the eldest sibling in this tale of a 1970s suburban family. The playroom will screen at 9 p.m., today, Sept. 27, at Dallas Museum of Art’s Horchow Theater, 1717 N. Harwood St.

Olivia received rave reviews from Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times, who wrote, “There are no over-the-top fisticuffs in ‘The Playroom,’ an unnerving look back at the 1970s by Julia Dyer, but it’s jarring in its own quiet way. The film stars Molly Parker and John Hawkes as a suburban couple who embody everything that felt so empty about that decade: she drinks and doesn’t care about her children; he is so overeager to do things a certain way that he can’t see the obvious. The real star, though, is a newcomer named Olivia Harris, who plays their oldest child, Maggie.”

Make sure you stay for the closing credits, and you will hear Olivia’s amazing version of “Up on the Roof.” Another JCC Youtheatre success story? I think so.

Also on the slate is Jared Scheib’s film, “The Mayor,” featuring the “love life” and times of Town Village North resident Sam Berger. If you have ever visited Town Village North and met Sam, it is clear why he has been nicknamed the mayor.

I’ve gotten to know him through volunteering at Town Village with my kids, and Sam’s cup “runneth over” in the charisma and charm department. Whether you are 8 or 88, it is impossible to meet Sam and not be drawn to his engaging personality.

It is well-worth the trip downtown to see “The Mayor” at 1:45 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, at the Horchow Theater. Incidentally, Jared, who grew up in Dallas and now lives in Los Angeles, is the son of Eileen and Jack Scheib of Dallas.

Tickets for the 25th Dallas Videofest are $50 for an all-festival pass, $20 for an all evening pass (Thursday or Friday) and $25 for all-day and evening passes (Saturday and Sunday). Individual tickets are $6 per show. There are student and senior rates. For information or to purchase tickets, visit,

And the iPad goes to

Congratulations to Bonnie Grossfeld of Dallas. Bonnie won a new iPad courtesy of the TJP in our recent drawing. What a nice way to start off 5773.

Lotsa food trucks

If you haven’t figured out your plans for Sunday, Oct. 7, you might want to consider stopping by Temple Shalom’s Food Truck Palooza, which will benefit the North Texas Food Bank.

The event takes place 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at Temple Shalom, 6930 Alpha Road in Dallas.

The event is open to the community. You can sample cuisine from Easy Slider, Good Karma Kitchen, Crazy Fish, Enticed, Butcher’s Son, Cavalli, Gandolfo’s, Nammi, Ruthie’s, Simcha Kosher Catering’s K-Wheelz, Coolhaus, and Potato-Potahto. Rodney Patterson, Vic Duncan, David Welek and Nomad will perform live music throughout the day. This family friendly event also will feature a free kids’ zone with bounce houses and face painting; raffles and other surprises.

Admission is $5 or free for children ages 3 and younger. Food and beverages are sold separately, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the North Texas Food Bank.

For information visit or call the synagogue at phone 972-661-1810

From the Winn-Dixie file

If you’ve been a longtime TJP subscriber, then you might remember one of our most embarrassing moments. Many years ago, when the grocer Winn-Dixie was a weekly double-truck (newspaper speak for the centerspread of a paper) advertiser, they promoted a special for “kosher pork chops.” No, it wasn’t Purim and, to our chagrin, we didn’t catch the mistake.

What made me recall this was another gastronomical gaffe sent to us by Marvin Migdol. Marv shared that recently he and wife Fay dined at the French Room, the five-star restaurant in the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. The formally attired waiter brought the impressive menu. The Migdols were delighted that Israeli couscous was being served as a side dish. Of course they were a little surprised to see that its featured partner was pork tenderloin. A funny and, I’m certain, innocent pairing.

Do you have an entry for the Winn-Dixie file? I’d sure love to hear it, in addition to any other news you’d like to share. Send it to me at or 7920 Belt Line Road, Ste 680, Dallas, TX 75254.

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Around the Town

Posted on 27 September 2012 by admin

By Amy Wolff Sorter

Though the Holy Days are behind us, the celebrations continue in full swing. We have Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, Simchat Torah and Chanukah ahead.

There is, however, another holiday that takes place, one that isn’t talked about much — Hoshanah Rabbah. This year, Hoshanah Rabbah falls on Oct. 7, the final day of Sukkot.

According to, Hoshanah Rabbah is the final “sealing of judgment” that begins on Rosh Hashanah. The explanation here is that on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, humanity is reviewed by God. During Sukkot, the world is reviewed in terms of its handling of water, fruit and produce. It makes sense, therefore, that on the seventh day of Sukkot, the judgment is sealed, as human life depends on water (not to mention food and produce). Among very traditional Jews, Hoshana Rabbah involves prayer and repentance.

James and the Giant Skype

Mary and Guy Gilstrap of Weatherford write that their son, James, who is in third grade at Curtis Elementary, had the opportunity recently to introduce himself and his class, via Skype, to other third-graders attending Martin J. Gottlieb Day School in Jacksonville, Fla., a Solomon Schechter School.

The occasion was International Dot Day, inspired by Peter Reynolds’ book “The Dot,” which discusses how people can make their own marks in the world. The two classes exchanged greetings, comments and even a few Hebrew words. James attends religious school at Congregation Ahavath Sholom and everyone in the family — including older sister Leah — is a member of Beth-El Congregation.

An update from the Rice family

Proud grandmother Debby Rice tells us that her grandson Nathan Rice, a freshman at TCU, joined Kappa Sigma and is having a good time in his first college year. Debby also shares that her grandson Max Rice managed to confound the folks at the Fox News Channel show “Fox and Friends.”

There isn’t enough room in this column to state specifics other than, through this prank, Max managed to totally fluster host Gretchen Carlson. I suggest you Google Max’s story and see what went on. That information will also tell you why he’s been in great demand for interviews — and why his name even showed up in a Jimmy Kimmel monologue.

Debby said Max is no friend of Fox News, namely because of his belief that Fox doesn’t report “news” so much as the network tells people what to say on the air. In fact, in follow-up interviews, Max earnestly said that the mainstream media has a definite disregard for substance and facts, something he tried to point out through the “Fox and Friends” experience.

“Max is a great kid and very smart, and he played it just right,” Debby noted. Max is a film student at Columbia College in Chicago.

Federation does a good job

Just read where the Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County did a great job in its 2012 annual campaign, exceeding last year’s take by more than $7,000.

Nice work, folks. Results like this will keep the Tarrant County Jewish community vibrant and growing for decades to come.

Gumbo in the Sukkah

If you’re tired of dining alone in your sukkah, the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County wants to invite you to its community Sukkot celebration at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 3., at Congregation Beth Shalom, 1212 Thannisch Dr. in Arlington.

This is a family friendly event featuring meat and vegetarian gumbos, crafts for the youth and all-around general schmoozing.

There is also a charity involved — the federation is collecting plastic cups, plates and utensils for Arlington LifeShelter. The event is free, but reservations are required so enough food is available.

Let them know you’re coming by registering through the Federation’s website (; email Angie Kitzman at or call the Federation office at 817-569-0892.

Or consider eating under CAS’ sukkah

The Ladies Auxiliary of Congregation Ahavath Sholom also invites you to dine at its Sukkah Fest, which takes place 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, at 4050 S. Hulen St. The cost is $18 per person (payable at the door). RSVPs are requested by tomorrow (Sept. 28) by calling 817-731-4721.

And while you’re dining in your sukkah.

Don’t forget to send those photos (and other information) to me at

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‘Tshuva’ the reason for Holy Day order

‘Tshuva’ the reason for Holy Day order

Posted on 20 September 2012 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Readers,

As I have received this question more than once this year, I will repeat a column from a few years ago with the hope this will answer the question for all:

Dear Rabbi Fried,

I am 93 years old, and since I was a teenager have never received a satisfactory answer to this question: If Rosh Hashanah is the day of judgment and Yom Kippur the day of atonement, why isn’t the order reversed? Why not first repent and absolve yourself of your sins and then go to the day of judgment? I hope I can finally get an answer.

Tillie K.

Dear Tillie,

I hope you will find this satisfactory for many years to come.

Rosh Hashanah begins the period called the “Ten Days of Tshuva” (repentance), in which there is a mitzvah of introspection and Tshuva. It ends with Yom Kippur, when we finalize our Tshuva for our wrongdoings.

We must attain a deeper understanding of Tshuva to answer your question. The Talmud states the following: “the wicked, even while alive, are really dead; the righteous, even after they die, are considered alive.” This reflects a profound definition of “life.” Life is not merely defined by one’s eating, breathing and being social and involved in commerce. Life is rather defined by one’s connection to “Elo-him Chayim” — God, who is the source of true life.

To the extent one is connected to the source of life, he or she is spiritually “alive.” The converse is true as well. One can theoretically be very energetically involved in many aspects of the world and even be quite successful by society’s standards while, at the same time, be spiritually dead, having no connection to the source of life. How does one go about being connected?

Mitzvot are a connection. The Torah says numerous times that through the fulfillment of mitzvot, we are “cleaving to God and therefore alive.” Sins, on the other hand, cause disconnect. The word “cheit,” usually translated as sin, literally means to miss the mark or disconnect. Each wrongdoing causes another short circuit in the grid of our connection to the source of life.

This gives us a new understanding of Tshuva. Tshuva is not simply repenting for a wrongdoing and God cleaning our slates of that sin. It repairs the shorted circuit, thereby reconnecting us to the almighty.

With this, we have a new insight to a seemingly strange statement by an early commentary. In our daily Amidah service, the second blessing thanks God for the promise to, one day, return the Jewish dead back to eternal life, techias hameisim. This sage comments that between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when one recites that blessing, he or she should have Tshuva in mind. What is the connection? The answer is that Tshuva, by repairing the circuitry, reconnects us to the source of life and brings us back to life.

What gives us the strength to bring ourselves back to life?

The answer is Rosh Hashanah. That day coincides with the creation of the first man and woman. The Kabbalists explain that just as Adam and Eve were created on that day, so too our souls are renewed on Rosh Hashanah.

On Rosh Hashanah, our souls receive a complete recharging of our spiritual batteries at the time of the shofar blast. This gives us the spiritual energy to begin the work of self-renewal within our own lives. We are empowered with the potential to bring ourselves “back to life” by reconnecting to the source of life. This is done through the process of Tshuva, culminating in Yom Kippur, which is the day we complete the process of renewal for the coming year.

If Yom Kippur would come first, we would not have the spiritual strength to embark upon the process of Tshuva, which is the core mitzvah of that day. That is the beauty and the precision of the order of our High Holy Days: First, Rosh Hashanah; second, Ten days of Tshuva; third, Yom Kippur.

Wishing you and all the readers an easy fast and a sweet, meaningful and successful New Year with 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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Kosher meat available

Kosher meat available

Posted on 20 September 2012 by admin

By Rachel Gross Weinstein

There is plenty of kosher meat and poultry at local grocery stores this High Holy Day season, despite rumors to the contrary, according to Rabbi Sholey Klein, kashrut administrator at Dallas Kosher.

However, dry products, such as couscous, parve margarine, cheese and gelfite fish, are in short supply because a primary supplier of kosher products is restructuring.

“There is no issue and no shortage of meat or chicken,” Klein said. “Everyone is working together to make sure those of us who keep kosher can get everything we need. In addition to the beef and chicken, Tom Thumb now also carries kosher bison and steak to give people even more of a variety.”

The rumors of the meat shortage came about when Twin City Poultry, based in Minneapolis, stopped shipping its product a couple of weeks ago, Klein said. When that happened, Tom Thumb was still getting its products from Alle Processing and A.D. Rosenblatt Kosher Meats, the latter run by Dallas residents Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt and Bob Feinberg.

David Levitt of Twin City Poultry said that although the company is restructuring, Dallas residents don’t need to worry about their kosher meat and chicken supply.

“We are open for business and shipping product,” he said. “We just sent items to Tom Thumb and Albertsons in Dallas. Nobody has to worry about not having kosher meat or chicken.”

Levitt said more is expected to arrive later this week, and people will be able to get items for all of their holiday meals.

Other stores in the area that carry kosher meat, such as Trader Joe’s and Central Market, are not affected by the shipping stoppage because they get their items from other companies.

The Albertsons at Hillcrest and Arapaho in North Dallas has all of its standard kosher items except for milk, according to a spokesperson who wished to remain anonymous. He said there is a high demand for the kosher items, but he assured that those who keep kosher can find the items they need at Albertsons.

“Nobody needs to worry about anything,” Klein added.

A spokesperson from Tom Thumb did not wish to comment on the situation.

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Bridge player, author show how to fulfill promises

Bridge player, author show how to fulfill promises

Posted on 20 September 2012 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

I think we’re fortunate as Jews to have both secular and religious times for making resolutions: Jan. 1 and our High Holy Days. But human nature tends to take over quickly, and well-meaning promises, even to oneself, are often broken almost as soon as they’re made.

Still, some vows are important enough for the hard work that carries them to completion. Cases in point: Two women in our midst have resolved in the past and achieved in the present, and today seems a proper time to salute them for their very personal accomplishments.

The first is Nancy Reuben Greenfield, who has written a meaningful book. The second is Denise Shade, who has become a life master in the game of bridge.

Well, many people have written books and there are many bridge life masters. What’s different about these two women, and their accomplishments, is the specificity of their resolves, and the hard drive (some pun intended) required to achieve their goals.

Greenfield has always written, one way or another. She’s contributed much online to “My Jewish Learning” and published a small, earlier volume for children, “When Mommy Had a Mastectomy,” based on personal experience.

But the book she always promised herself she’d write in that elusive “someday” remained to be completed. Until now. Finally out in print is Nancy’s new full-length book for adults, “The Golden Medina: The Land of Opportunity … Or Is It?”

This book actually has two authors: Nancy and her father, the late Edwin Jerome Reuben. In its introduction, Nancy writes, “It was over a Sunday morning bagel breakfast that my father announced he was going to write a book. I was 13 at the time and offered to be his editor. It has been almost four decades since that day. The last time I saw my father, I was 27 years old, and I promised him on his deathbed that I would finish the book … ”

During the many years since, Nancy worked sporadically with the manuscript he left her, which has “changed, yet remained the same,” she says today. “My father was inspired to create a diamond in the rough that I was privileged to cut and polish. I did the best I could to maintain its integrity. I will always consider it his book that I transformed into a novel.”

The book’s cover announces that it has two authors, “Reuben and Reuben.”

The story is of 11-year-old chess prodigy Marvin Grodsky, who comes to “the Golden Medina” only to learn that, in America, he “ … must juggle theory and reality to make tough choices in the chess game of life, in order to survive … ”

Nancy credits the ease of today’s technology and the acceptance of self-publishing in helping her fulfill her long-ago promise to her father. And the computer is also what helped make it possible for Denise Shade to realize her personal dream and promise to herself.

Denise had been playing casual bridge locally for a long time when she began partnering long-distance with an old friend who also loves the game. She and Glorya Spero of Highland Park, Ill., went to high school together in Chicago a long time ago, then re-met years later when both their daughters were attending the University of Texas at Austin.

Those girls are in their mid-40s today, and the sons of both Denise and Glorya are doctors who practice together at a suburban Chicago hospital. Why not keep the connections going through their favorite pastime? Practicing online, the women set an ambitious goal for themselves: “Some time around our 68th birthdays, we vowed to get our life master status by age 70,” Denise says.

To do so would involve taking the game seriously and playing hard in tournaments of various levels sanctioned by the American Contract Bridge League, which evaluates players’ achievements as they earn the 300 winners’ points necessary for its coveted life master designation.

The two would often be at their computers at 7 a.m. for long-distance practice, then later would meet to play together in person at ACBL’s live sectional, regional and national games. They made their way to — and made their marks in — many places including Houston; Oklahoma City; Tulsa, Okla.; Palm Springs, Calif.; and finally Lake Geneva, Wis., where they both went over the top this past April, beating their target dates by three months: Glorya turned 70 on July 11, and Denise followed on July 20.

A special Shanah Tovah to these two local achievers who are starting our New Year with past resolutions fulfilled.

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 20 September 2012 by admin

By Amy Wolff Sorter

As we head through the Days of Awe, my thoughts turn to charity. Not so much charity as involved with writing a check, but charity as involved with volunteerism. I’ll admit it — this was sparked by a timely email from Angie Kitzman at the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County.

I’ve written about this organization in the past, pointing out that it’s responsible for supporting many Jewish educational programs in Tarrant County. And now, with the beginning of 5773, the Federation needs volunteers for its upcoming programs.

One such program, “Gumbo in the Sukkah,” will take place Oct. 3, and some extra hands are needed that evening to help out. Other events at which you can volunteer include the Community Thank You Program (to take place on Nov. 17); the Scholar-in-Residence program (first meeting is Dec. 20) and the Purim Carnival, women’s event, Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaraon and Yom HaAtzmaut, all of which will take place in 2013.

Lending your time and support takes so little time, but serves the greater Jewish community — so feel free to contact Angie at 817-569-0892 or email her at for details.

In the meantime, please accept my belated wishes for a sweet and prosperous new year.

Welcome back, Tirsuns

Robin Tirsun writes that she and husband Dan (members of Congregation Ahavath Sholom and Beth-El Congregation) recently returned from a visit to Jamaica. The couple’s travels included Riu Palace in Negril, Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton in Negril, the Gran Bahia in Runaway Bay and the Riu in Ocho Rios.

Though it’s September, the beaches in Jamaica are still popular, as shown in this photo by Robin Tirsun, who just returned from a vacation there with her husband, Dan. | Photo: Robin Tirsun

“We loved the beaches in Negril and Ocho Rios. We stopped and had a drink at Rick’s Café to see the sunset and cliff divers,” Robin writes.

But these trips represent more than fun and sun for Robin and Dan — they also get involved with the local Jewish community on their travels. This time, the couple didn’t travel to Kingston, due to some unrest there.

But Robin shared some fun facts. For one thing, there are 200 Jews residing in Kingston, and the island also boasts the United Congregation of Israelites’ Shaare Shalom Synagogue and the Neveh Shalom Institute, founded to protect and purchase old Jewish remains from Colonial Jamaica.

The services are read in English and at every service the congregation recites the Portuguese prayer, “for our brethren who are imprisoned by the Inquisition.”

We interrupt this column

This is Dave Sorter, rudely cutting into Amy’s wonderful column for an announcement that concerns … well, Amy.

My loving wife/your trusted correspondent was very involved in theater in the past, and the bug has hit her again. She won the role of Lt. Rooney in the Plaza Theater of Cleburne’s production of “Arsenic and Old Lace,” which is on stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Saturdays, through Oct. 13.

And after that, our son, Michael, will be in Plaza’s production of “Ragtime,” Oct. 19-Nov. 17.

Looks like the Sorter family is getting into the theater groove … Now, back to Amy and her usual great stuff.

The girls of summer

OK, so now my face is red with embarrassment, but I’ll soldier on.

The members of Alton Silver BBG, who were pictured in last week’s issue, sold concessions on Sept. 2 as part of B’nai B’rith’s annual summer movie event. Jim Stanton writes that this year’s event (featuring the movie “Mamma Mia”) was a huge success and set a new attendance record.

Almost half of those who attended saw the movie indoors, while the remainder opted for the outdoor experience.

Catching up with the Jacobsons

Corrine Jacobson writes that she’s recovering from pacemaker surgery — we’re glad it was successful and that she continues to heal.

But the gist of her message wasn’t so much about her surgery as much as it was a proud comment about her grandson, Barry Bond, who is one of the TV editors on Fox News’ “Dish Nation.” Barry puts it all together and makes it into what Corrine dubs a “fast-moving entertainment show.”

Barry, whose editing skills have been used to develop features and bonuses for shows such as “Smallville” and “Nikita,” is the son of Steve and Cindy Bond (formerly of Carrollton and currently living in Atlanta). Also in Los Angeles is Barry’s sister, Lisa, who is an obstetrics nurse. Thanks for catching us up, Corrine.

Change of day for the Daytimers

I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, but reminders are always good. The September Daytimers event will take place at noon on Monday, Sept. 24 (rather than the usual Wednesday), at Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road in Fort Worth.

Featured guest is Cantor Bruce Ruben, director of the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College. Ruben is on hand as Beth-El Congregation’s High Holy Days cantor as well.

For the Daytimers, he’ll present the program “The Impact of Jewish Music on the American Musical Theater.” The event will also include a sing-along, and lunch will be catered by Pak-A-Pocket.

Those interested in lunch can pay $9; if you don’t care to eat, the program is $4. Questions? Want to make reservations? Call Barbara Rubin, 817-927-2736 or Hugh Lamensdorf, 817-738-1428. You can also reserve online by logging onto

Save the date

B’nai B’rith’s Person of the Year award dinner will take place on Sunday, Oct. 28. We don’t have the specific details just yet, but we known enough to let you folks know that authentic Russian food will be served, with Klezmer music as the entertainment. Sounds like a really great time — stay tuned for more information.

It’s not too late to participate

In memory of Amrita Shlachter, who died of a brain tumor last December, Hollace Weiner has organized a team — “Amrita’s Army” — to participate in this year’s 5L Brain Tumor Walk, which is being sponsored by the National Brain Tumor Society. This walk will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29 at Trinity Park in Fort Worth. For more information, contact Hollace directly at or log onto

Nor is it too early to think about Sukkot …

… which is just around the corner. Rabbi Andrew Bloom of Congregation Ahavath Sholom is hosting a holiday service at 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30 in his sukkah, complete with light refreshments and desserts. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. If you’re interested, RSVP to CAS’ office at 817-731-4721 by Sept. 24.

Also, according to the newsletter I receive from Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, while Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are a time for reflection and repentance, Sukkot is the time to party. Not the “streamer-and-champagne” type of party, but the “rejoicing in the harvest and getting together with your community” type of party.

As such, there is no lack of sukkahs or sukkah-building activities in Tarrant County. Jewish organizations will offer a variety of celebrations and building activities, so keep an eye out.

Sukkot begins sundown Sept. 30, so check the calendar section of TJP to find a celebration and/or building activity that’s close to you.

Also, if you’re building your own sukkah, please send us a photo (preferably with family and friends enjoying it). Space permitting, I’ll be more than happy to run it in “Around the Town.”

And while you’re sending those sukkah photos

Don’t forget to send other Tarrant County info to me at

By “information,” I mean celebrations, family reunions, vacations and so on. You get the picture.

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