Archive | September, 2012

Use your words to help kids define selves

Use your words to help kids define selves

Posted on 20 September 2012 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Yom Kippur is here and hopefully, we have all apologized to those we may have hurt on purpose or unintentionally. As we enter the New Year, let us remember to be the best we can be and help our children develop as well.

Each year at the High Holy Days, we read a prayer by Reb Zusya. The commentary (the small print at the bottom) shares the thoughts of Reb Zusya: “When I meet God, I will not be asked, “Why were you not Moses?” but rather, “Were you the best Zusya you could be?”

I am reminded of this each time we question why our children are not more this or more that — we compare and worry. Years ago, the cry in education was “label jars, not children.” We strived not to label children and define them by that label.

Today we say, “Help children develop labels to identify themselves, but remember labels are not limits.” Let us learn to use our words to help our children see who they are and who they can be. Use words to reframe how we see our children and how they see themselves.

To help us with this goal, I am repeating the list below from previous years. It is often a matter of looking at things from just a little different perspective — a change from “half empty” to “half full.” Look through this list and start using new words to describe your child (and yourself).

Some say …, You might say …
aggressive, assertive
bossy, a leader
chatterbox, communicative
controlling, determined
fearful, sensitive
impatient, passionate
insecure, cautious
manipulative, charismatic
obsessive, deliberate
self-centered, proud
spoiled, well loved
troublesome, challenging
unpredictable, flexible
boisterous, enthusiastic
brooding, serious
clingy, loving
dreamy, imaginative
forceful, determined
inflexible, traditional
loud, expressive
non-participatory, an observer
picky, selective
shy, reflective
stubborn, tenacious
unfocused, curious
withdrawn, introspective

Adapted from the works of Mary Sheedy Kurcinka; taken from Kindermusik International, Inc.

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

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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 20 September 2012 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Last week, I mentioned that it was crunch time at the TJP. The High Holy Days are our Super Bowl, for all intents and purposes. We are wrapping this paper up on Sept. 14, as we prepare to be off for Rosh Hashanah. But when you receive this issue, we will be in the midst of the 10 days of Repentance.

Congregation Shearith Israel’s IMPACT (Involve More People And Change Tomorrow) collected 100 backpacks to deliver to two local elementary schools and one middle school, all of which have more than 98 percent of students participating in free and reduced lunch program. The Shearith committee conducts an annual uniform and school supply drive before the school year starts, and this year’s effort was greatly aided by a $1,000 donation from a Shearith member who wishes to remain anonymous. Helping to distribute backpacks were, from left, Lynn Minsky, who coordinated the backpack purchase; Ana Arona, community liaison for Hector P. Garcia Middle School in Dallas; and IMPACT co-chair Carol Pinker. | Photo: Submitted by IMPACT

Ordinarily, I like to write a separate note, but space is tight and time is short. So, I’ll say it here. On behalf of all of the staff here, please accept our sincere apologies for any mistakes we have made here at the TJP in the past year. Both the sins of omission (Did we leave your name out by accident?) and the ones of commission (Did we get your name in but misspell it?).

These types of errors are the bane of my existence. They are difficult to catch, and often hurtful to our subscribers. Of course once the ink is dry, there is little to say but “I’m sorry,” and believe me it is heartfelt every time. We wish all of our loyal readers a happy and healthy new year. May you be sealed in the Book of Life for a good year and have a meaningful fast.

Mondells to be honored twice for film work

“A Tribute to Allen Mondell and Cynthia Salzman Mondell,” honoring the couple’s independent filmmaking, will take place as part of the Dallas Video Festival from 6-8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, at the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art.

Filmmaker Cynthia Salzman Mondell on the set of one of her many films. | Photo: Courtesy of Cynthia Salzman Mondell

Both Mondells will be in attendance to show and talk about several of their films. Among them are “Who Remembers Mama?” “Beauty in the Bricks” and “Sisters of ’77 which documents the story of the first federally funded National Women’s Conference in Houston in 1977.

Cynthia will also discuss the film she is crrently producing, “Sole Sisters,” a film exploring women’s identities through the intimate relationship between her and her shoes. Learn more at

Cynthia will also be honored for her body of work at the second annual Lois Weber Film Festival. The film festival, which screens movies and documentaries by female directors, is hosted by the Grand Prairie Public Library and held at Grand Prairie’s historic Uptown Theater.

Yavneh Academy senior Yosef Presburger, right, is congratulated by Head of School David Portnoy after Presburger accepted a certificate proclaiming him a 2012 National Hispanic Recognition Scholar. The honor, bestowed by the College Board, recognizes Pressburger for his excellence in academic achievement. | Photo: Deb Silverthorn

At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, the library will award Mondell the Lois Weber Award for her impact on the Texas motion picture industry. Her movie “The Ladies Room” will be screened.

“‘The Ladies Room’ takes you where no man has gone before,” according to a news release. “It is a hilarious 42-minute documentary about what really goes on behind closed doors. Women share stories of love, sex, marriage and divorce, and comment on everything from body image to their mothers, all while fixing their hair and makeup.

The Mondells are co-founders of Media Projects, Inc., a film production and distribution company

The festival will continue Saturday, Oct. 20. Tickets each day for the festival are $5, or $3 with a Grand Prairie Library card. They are available at the Theater Box Office. The Theater and box office are located at 120 E. Main Street.

The Grand Prairie Main Library is the site of the Lois Weber Collection, a circulating collection of more than 300 films directed by women, from all time periods and many countries. Library cards are free, even to non-residents. The Main Library is located at 901 Conover Drive, in Grand Prairie. Visit for more information.

Jewish organizations benefit from North Texas Giving Day

Last Thursday was an exciting one for area non-profits participating in North Texas Giving Day. In a landslide day of giving, this community showed its true stripes by donating $14.4 million in 17 hours to 900+ local non-profits. North Texas Giving Day (Sept.13) donations surpassed last year’s results by 35 percent, or an increase of $3.7 million, while the volume of donations made this year versus last year increased by 180 percent. Additionally, 300 more non-profits benefited this year than last.

“We are absolutely blown away by the record-breaking generosity and goodwill of North Texans,” said Brent Christopher, Communities Foundation of Texas president and CEO. “This is a testament to the strength of our community and our shared desire to make North Texas the most viable, best place to live. We are humbled to say the least.”

A number of organizations with Jewish ties benefitted from North Texas Giving Day. At press time Sept. 14, their totals were the following:

  • Ann and Nate Levine Academy, 168 gifts totaling $109,706.
  • Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, 75 gifts totaling $86,291.
  • The Vogel Alcove, 86 gifts totaling $85,742.
  • Jewish Family Service, 199 gifts totaling $80,500
  • Akiba Academy, 29 gifts totaling $8,123.
  • Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association, 36 gifts totaling $3,300.
  • Jewish Studies Initiative of North Texas, four gifts totaling $750.
  • National Council of Jewish Women, 24 gifts totaling $9,396.
  • Torah Day School, 1 gift of $300.

Each of these gifts will be matched by percentage.

“The magnitude of support non-profits receive on this one day speaks volumes about how much North Texans care about their community,” said Cynthia B. Nunn, president of the Center for Nonprofit Management. “Get Up and Give allows us to raise not only much-needed dollars, but also awareness of the important services that nonprofits provide.”

Launched in 2009 by Communities Foundation of Texas with ongoing support from Center for Nonprofit Management and The Dallas Foundation, DonorBridge is the most comprehensive and free public resource for connecting North Texas non-profits and supporters. For supporters, DonorBridge simplifies the process of gathering reliable information about non-profits and community needs, and making charitable donations. For non-profits, DonorBridge and its annual North Texas Giving Day serve as another awareness-building and fundraising tool. DonorBridge profiles more than 700 non-profits, and since its inception, has infused more than $19 million into non-profits serving the 16-county North Texas community. for more information, or or

News and notes:

Congratulations to National Merit Semifinalists who were recently announced by the College Board for their stellar performance on the PSAT. All seniors, they are: Clayton Drazner (Lakehill) son of Laurie and Mark Drazner; Jacob Graff (Lakehill) son of Audrey Miklius and Jonathan Graff; Sam Libby (St. Marks), son of Carla and Kevin Libby; Lindsay Rawitscher (Greenhill), daughter of Roz and David Rawitscher; and Meyer Thalheimer (St. Marks), son of Robin and Jonathan Thalheimer.

Did we leave someone out? We’d love to hear from you…we love to hear from our readers! Send your news to me at, or 7920 Belt Line Road #680, Dallas, TX 75254.

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Grodin combines service with law in U.S. Army

Grodin combines service with law in U.S. Army

Posted on 19 September 2012 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

A young boy’s dream to serve his country and the scales of justice was realized when U.S. Army First Lt. Aaron Grodin reported for duty as an Army Reserve officer.

Grodin returned to Dallas earlier this summer after completing 11 weeks of military legal training at the Judge Advocate General Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Va., followed by six weeks of Direct Commissioning Corps work at Ft. Benning, Ga.

Reservist Lt. Col. Jerrold Grodin, left, and his nephew, Reservist First Lt. Aaron Grodin, set examples for each other. | Photo: Submitted by Jerrold Grodin

For the next eight years, he will serve one weekend a month and two weeks a year at the First Legal Operations Detachment, based at the Grand Prairie Armed Forces Reserve Center. The unit goes into “ready” status in October and, should a legal unit be needed, Grodin would be ready to deploy.

“I’m now a soldier before a lawyer,” said Grodin, who will handle cases relating to legal assistance, family law, consumer protection and landlord-employer issues. He said it’s “inspiring and an honor” to be with those who serve full-time.

An El Paso native, the son of Judy and Sandy Grodin and brother of Josh Grodin and Jeremy Grodin, Aaron is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the SMU Dedman School of Law. He is engaged to interior architect Melissa Simon, with a February 2013 wedding planned. The couple attends services and young adult events at Temple Emanu-El.

Grodin carries on a family tradition of military service. His uncle Danny Grodin was a Marine; his grandfather, the late Irwin Grodin, served in the U.S. Army; and his uncle, cardiologist Jerrold Grodin, joined the Army Reserves on Sept., 12, 2001, at age 51 in response to the terrorist attacks the day before. Commissioned as a major, Jerrold Grodin’s commitment, which continues today as a lieutenant colonel, has included two deployments to Iraq and service at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

“Aaron has joined a special club, one whose members sign on to give our lives for our country, family and homes. His choice to do so is a natural evolution for him and comes as no surprise to our family — we are so proud of him,” Jerrold Grodin said. “My nephew has such incredibly deep feelings about the ethical values of life: truth, fidelity and honor. I hope and have no doubt that he will find deep satisfaction in doing federal service for his country.”

Aaron Grodin joined the Howard Hughes Corporation as a litigation attorney in 2010, first letting his superiors know of his plans to join the Army Reserves.

“I let them know this was something I wanted to do, and I hoped it would work out,” he said. “Not only did they say it could work out, they made sure I knew they would support me 100 percent, and that they both respected my plans and believed it was my duty to fulfill them.”

His bosses never hesitated.

“When Aaron came to see us and suggested he wanted to serve his country, there was only one response, and that was ‘of course,’” said Peter Riley, general counsel for the Howard Hughes Company, who was joined in his support of Grodin by the company’s president, Grant Herlitz, and its CEO, David Weinreb. “We think this is so important and we’re only too happy to make sure he can do this meaningful service. We support our country, our troops and our employee. The passion he has for this dream is contagious.”

Grodin’s response to his employer’s support was to nominate it for the Patriot and Above and Beyond awards, both of which were accepted by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense organization.

With lifelong dreams of serving his country and becoming an attorney, the family joke is that he’d be a natural — one to always argue a point as a child.

“I’ve always thought the law was interesting, but I’ve also always been inspired by my family,” said Grodin, who expects his rank to rise to captain later this fall. “I wanted to do it all, and here I am.”

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Hitler letter could serve as a warning for today

Hitler letter could serve as a warning for today

Posted on 13 September 2012 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

I’m passionately opposed to those who say they’ve had “too much” Holocaust and want no more books or films or anything else about it.

This is how I see it, and I think my reasoning is sound: In all of Jewish history, we have had only two seminal experiences. The first was the Exodus, which led us out of Egypt and created our peoplehood; the second was the Holocaust, which decimated our principal long-time culture but ultimately led to new solidarities of today. Wanting “no more” Holocaust would be like wanting “no more” Exodus — reducing Judaism to virtual nothingness.

This is why I write today, as we prepare for the High Holy Days that will begin so soon, about Hitler — the Pharaoh of our European days, the Amalek of our time. Because it was 93 years to the day of this year’s Erev Rosh Hashanah — Sept. 16, 1919 — that Hitler wrote the letter the Simon Wiesenthal Center tells us changed the world, a letter that came six years before “Mein Kampf,” Hitler’s two-volume rant on Jew-hate and German conquest, but clearly stated its content in advance. This is what happened, and how:

Earlier in 1919, a soldier in Munich, Adolf Gemlich, asked Capt. Karl Mayr how important the “Jewish question” was in current German politics. Mayr deputized Hitler to answer, and his message put forth the need for a kind of anti-Semitism he termed both “rational” and “scientific.” This “Gemlich Letter,” though generally not well known, is recognized by Holocaust students as Hitler’s very first anti-Semitic writing. Here is some of it in translation:

“Anti-Semitism as a political movement may not and cannot be defined by emotional impulses, but by recognition of the facts … Jewry is absolutely a race and not a religious association … there lives amongst us a non-German, alien race which … possesses all the political rights we do … [and] is like a racial tuberculosis …

“An anti-Semitism based on purely emotional grounds, will find its ultimate expression in the form of the pogrom. Anti-Semitism based on reason, however, must lead to systematic legal combatting and elimination of the privileges of the Jews, that which distinguishes the Jews from the other aliens who live among us. The ultimate objective must be the irrevocable [this word also translated as ‘uncompromising’] removal of the Jews in general.”

The typewritten Gemlich letter is the sole surviving document over Hitler’s signature that advocates Jewish extermination. William Ziegler, an American G.I. in Nuremberg, found it in April 1945 and brought it back to the U.S. to sell to a private collector. The center had its first chance to buy the letter in 1988 but was skeptical, believing Hitler couldn’t possibly have afforded a typewriter then. By the time it was verified that he’d used a German army typewriter and his signature was also authenticated, the letter had been resold.

But finally, last year, Wiesenthal’s founder/dean Rabbi Marvin Hier announced that the center had purchased the letter — for $150,000.

“We do not want to make a market for memorabilia,” he said. “But this document does not belong in private hands. It has too much to say to history.” The public can now see it on permanent display at the Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

So why is it right and important to consider, as our holy days begin, this horrific announcement of our people’s future as envisioned by Hitler? Rabbi Hier answers this way: “September is the time when Jews around the world celebrate Rosh Hashanah, hopeful for a better world. But September also reminds us of tragedies: the start of World War II, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 …

“It was on Sept. 16, 1919, that Adolf Hitler answered a question of Germany’s position on the Jews. His letter changed not only Jewish history, but also the entire world, forever. What it says of most importance is, ‘to accomplish these goals [removal of the Jews], only a government of national power is capable, never a government of national weakness.’ Our exhibit will remind the world that what began as a private letter, one man’s opinion, became the policy of an entire nation, and six million Jews were murdered. This is an important warning for future generations … ”

The Shofar calls us to action and to remember. This Rosh Hashanah, let’s remember the Gemlich letter, and the need to bring our knowledge of the past into the present, so its disasters will not be repeated in the future. A Shanah Tovah for us all, indeed.

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Shofar traditions

Shofar traditions

Posted on 13 September 2012 by admin

By Judy Klein

In Hebrew, they are Ba’al or Ba’alat Tekiah (master of the blast). They are dedicated Jews who bring their skills to the sanctuary during the month of Elul, and the service they offer inspires awe and reverence each time it is performed.

In English, we call them shofar sounders, and we are always eager to participate, with the rest of the congregation, in the mitzvah of hearing the sounds of Tekiah, Teruah, Sh’varim and the final, mighty Tekiah Gedolah.

Kim Factor is an 18-year Ba’alat Tekiah at Beth-El Congregation in Fort Worth, of which she has been a member for 28 years. There are six or seven others in her group, she said, which is under the direction of Bruce Weiner.

Her years as a sounder began when she played “Taps” on her trumpet at a Jewish war veteran’s funeral and was drafted to sound the shofar. She continues, she said, because she loves the connection she makes to “the sounds that have resonated through the millennia.”

“It’s not on paper,” she said, “and it’s not a prayer. But the sound cries out that we are Jewish, and it’s a commitment from generation to generation.”

David Klein leads the group of shofar sounders at Adat Chaverim — which also includes his 15-year-old daughter. | Submitted photo

At Adat Chaverim in Plano, David Klein heads a group of six-10 shofar sounders that includes his oldest daughter, Eliana. When Klein’s father was alive, three generations of the family sounded their shofars for the holidays.

Klein became a Ba’al Tekiah in 1982 when he purchased a Yemenite shofar in Jerusalem while on a teen tour. Eliana, 15, a French horn player, purchased her Yemenite shofar two years ago in Jerusalem during a post-bat mitzvah trip. She earned the title of Ba’alat Tekiah that same year.

“I love having my own shofar,” she said. “I remember watching my father and my grandfather on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur when I was little. I couldn’t wait to be old enough to join them.”

Father and daughter have found other uses for their shofars including calling campers at Greene Family Camp to Shabbat services. Klein also teaches congregants who own shofars how to coax sound from them, and he has taken his shofar to classrooms in synagogue preschools so the little ones can hear the sound as they learn about the holidays.

Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson boasts a 40-year Ba’al Tekiah. Mark Kreditor began playing the trumpet when the Men’s Club president at his childhood congregation gave him the instrument. Soon after his bar mitzvah, the synagogue’s shofar sounder moved out of the area and Kreditor got the job.

Today, he owns 15 shofars, and before the High Holy Days, he visits classrooms at Beth Torah and Ann and Nate Levine Academy so the young students can hear the sounds.

Both he and the synagogue take shofar sounding very seriously, says Kreditor, who joins between two and four other sounders at services. “The shofar is a major part of the message of the High Holy Days,” he said. “But it’s important to know that it’s not about the shofar player. It’s the sound that connects with the congregation.

“Tekiah is the wake-up call, a call to gather. It says ‘listen.’ In Sh’varim, we hear empathy for the cries of the world. Teruah is the actual repairing of the world, and Gedolah is most important as the conclusion.”

After 40 years, Kreditor is as serious as ever about sounding. He continues, he said, because he enjoys helping others to share in the joy and mitzvah of hearing the sound of his shofar.

Cary Rudberg is another 40-year Ba’al Tekiah. A year after his bar mitzvah, he was assisting at a youth service at Congregation Shearith Israel in Dallas when he was told he was to be a shofar sounder. Morris Agronoff, the congregation’s Torah reader and Ba’al Tekiah, loaned him a shofar for the service and when he returned it, Agronoff commented that he heard Rudberg had done a good job. So, at age 15, the young man began sounding on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Although he owns four to six shofars, one that is not his is very special to him. Owned by the Kaufman family, it was purchased in Israel. Twenty-five years ago, Rudberg said, Stanley Kaufman invited him to play it because he wanted to hear the sound and couldn’t play it himself. Rudberg played it for Kaufman, who then offered it on loan for the holidays. Since then, it has been a continuing annual loan.

Now in his 40th year as Ba’al Tekiah, Rudberg and his shofar can be found from the 1st of Elul through the High Holy Days at the daily 7 a.m. service.

“As a kid,” he said, “I was honored to be asked to sound the shofar. I worked hard and I wasn’t embarrassed. Now I know that for me it’s an honor, and for the congregation it’s a mitzvah.”

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Understanding your sins is crucial

Understanding your sins is crucial

Posted on 13 September 2012 by admin

By Laura Seymour

The High Holy Days are here, and the theme is repentance. It is a hard topic for children, but it is also hard for adults, especially today.

Why say “especially today?” We are living in a time when sin isn’t taken quite as seriously. Even some murderers “get out of jail free.” (The Torah does have lots on witnesses and responsibilities, etc. but it is a big difference from our system today.)

The Tanach is filled with stories of sinning and, if you read carefully, they are more than great stories — they have lessons for us today. We continue to repeat many of the same sins, but today we often don’t have the same sense of right and wrong. Are morals and values situational? Can we decide for ourselves what is right and wrong?

Judaism says God has told us through the commandments what is right and wrong. Many of the commandments are between us and God (we may not understand the why), and on Yom Kippur we apologize to God. However, there are many, many mitzvot that tell us how to treat others. We must take the biblical mitzvot and put them into words today so that we may understand if, and how, we are “sinning,” This is the time to do this.

Here is a modern interpretation of Unetaneh Tokef, one of the important prayers we say on the holidays. It’s a brave and sensitive attempt to relate the references to modern conditions of life, made by the rabbis who compiled the “Machzor for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur” issued by the Rabbinical Assembly of New York. It is well worth quoting:

When we really begin a new year it is decided,

And when we actually repent it is determined:

Who shall be truly alive and who shall merely exist;

Who shall be happy and who shall be miserable;

Who shall attain fulfillment in his days

And who shall not attain fulfillment in his days;

Who shall be tormented by the fire of ambition

And who shall be overcome by the waters of failure;

Who shall be pierced by the sharp sword of envy

And who shall be torn by the wild beast of resentment;

Who shall hunger for companionship

And who shall thirst for approval;

Who shall be shattered by the earthquake of social change

And who shall be plagued by the pressures of conformity;

Who shall be strangled by insecurity

And who shall be stoned into submission;

Who shall be content with his lot

And who shall wander in search of satisfaction;

Who shall be serene and who shall be distraught;

Who shall be at ease and who shall be afflicted with anxiety;

Who shall be poor in his own eyes

And who shall be rich in tranquility;

Who shall be brought low with futility

And who shall be exalted through achievement.

But repentance, prayer and good deeds have the power to change the character of our lives.

Let us resolve to repent, to pray and to do good deeds so that we may begin a truly new year.

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

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 13 September 2012 by admin

By Amy Wolff Sorter

Members of Alton Silver BBG sold concessions as a fundraiser during the outdoor showing of “Mamma Mia” and kept 100 percent of the proceeds. Among the participants were, front row from left, Courtney Smith and Carli Clay. Back row, Leah Vann, Bree Goodman, Dorie Kaye, Lihi Sofer, Sarah Alpert, Molly Englander, Megan Kalpin, Danielle Aharonov and Cami Gee. | Photo: Valerie Kaye

In this issue is an article about the Rosh Hashanah seder. In doing some research about the concept and chatting with Rabbi Zecharia Sionit at the Sephardic Torah Center of Dallas, I became very impressed with this particular tradition.

Though better-known among Sephardic communities, some Ashkenazi communities also are taking up the ritual. Rather than bringing about positive intentions that might be somewhat difficult to visualize in building a successful year, the Rosh Hashanah seder provides blessings and foods to help put a physical aspect to our spiritual desires.

Congratulations go to…

Hollace Weiner, our well-known Fort Worth Jewish historian, is being honored by Historic Fort Worth Inc. with its Preservation Achievement Award for her latest book, “River Crest Country Club, the First 100 Years.” Excellent news.

The book jacket of Hollace Weiner’s new book relating the history of River Crest Country Club in Fort Worth. | Photo: Courtesy Hollace Weiner

The book itself unearths some interesting history about River Crest, a supposedly “exclusive” organization. Though considered a club with “token” Jewish membership, River Crest actually has a strong Jewish history — for example, pioneer Jewish cattleman and distiller Milton Eppstein was one of the country club’s founders in 1911. During the club’s first decade of existence, its roster boasted 13 Jewish members including Sam Levy, founding president of Beth-El Congregation; city councilman Sam Davidson, the Temple’s sixth president; haberdashers Leon Gross and Alphonse August; and entrepreneurs Herman Marx and Dan Levy. The latter four were also among Beth-El’s founders.

In addition, husbands of well-known Congregation Ahavath Sholom members Eva, Mary, Mamie and Gertrude Potishman were also on River Crest’s roster as was department store owner Joe Sanger, who in 1919 opened a Fort Worth branch of Sanger Brothers. But when the Ku Klux Klan came along to dominate local politics, Jewish applicants were rejected. This changed in the 1930s, but by that time, not many Jews applied for membership.

Hollace tells us this book isn’t sold in stores, but can be accessed at area archives and libraries; it’ll also be on hand at silent auction events including the Zonta Club, the Fort Worth Opera Ball and Women of Reform Judaism Donor Brunch.

And don’t forget

To send information and photos about weddings, trips, the award your son or daughter received and so on, email me at

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Make resolutions you can keep

Make resolutions you can keep

Posted on 13 September 2012 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Editor’s note: Rabbi Fried’s series of columns based on his conversation with Matisyahu will resume after the High Holy Days.

Dear Rabbi Fried,

With Rosh Hashanah approaching, I have a dilemma. I was always taught as a child that this is the time we make resolutions to be better Jews and people for the coming year. The problem is, I have done it every year for many years and have never kept most commitments for more than a couple months, tops. Is it better to make a resolution that gets broken or not to commit at all?

— Rochelle W.

Dear Rochelle,

It’s true that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the Jewish times for making resolutions (as opposed to Jan. 1). It’s important to understand the context and framework in which we make those resolutions before you decide what to do.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur mark the period known as the “10 days of tshuvah” or repentance. This is the time that we reflect upon our thoughts, actions and deeds in the past year, and attempt to make amends to God and our fellow man.

The tshuvah process consists of three parts: 1) Recognizing and feeling remorse over a past misdeed; 2) Vowing never to repeat that misdeed in the future; 3) Asking God for forgiveness. When the misdeed affected another person, the first step includes rectifying the wrong and getting their forgiveness.

The Jewish concept of resolution stems from Part 2. Part of the way we rectify our actions is by committing to perform a positive act that will ensure we will not return to the misdeed. At times, we feel the need to elevate ourselves to a higher level of closeness to God, so we will commit to the performance of some mitzvah over the coming year that will affect us positively in all areas of our lives. It may also be refraining from a negative behavior or character trait.

Once we put the Jewish New Year’s resolutions into the context of tshuvah, we realize these pledges are not just a nice thing to do. Rather, they comprise an important part of the mitzvah of tshuvah, which we are commanded to perform at this time of the year.

To make it more meaningful, allow me to suggest a paradigm shift in your notion of commitment. Your question suggests an oxymoron — a “commitment” you know you will break. I suggest that this is not a commitment at all. To commit and consistently not fulfill is a huge blow to your personal integrity. You then develop a story about yourself that you are one who doesn’t fulfill your commitments to yourself, to God and I’m not sure to whom else.

Consider the suggestion from the Baalei Musar — Jewish masters of self-improvement: Make a commitment to something small, doable and significant. Make that commitment with honesty. This means that you decide your personal integrity depends upon that commitment.

Think ahead of ways to ensure the fulfillment of your resolution. Decide that even if you slip up once, it’s not over. Rather, clean it up and continue with the commitment the rest of the year. If you’re able to do that, you will exercise your “integrity muscles” and be a much stronger, prouder person for whom the sky is the limit for your potential growth and happiness. In this way, you will fulfill the mitzvah of tshuvah in the area you choose in a meaningful and gratifying way, one that will foster personal growth, pride and self esteem and create a more intimate relationship with the Al-mighty.

Best wishes to you and all the readers for a New Year of growth, meaning and joy. May God grant a year of peace for Israel, protection from her enemies from without, as well as peace among the Jewish people everywhere from within.

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

Posted on 13 September 2012 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

As we put this week’s Rosh Hashanah edition to bed, everyone here at the TJP is looking forward to the upcoming holiday. We will have worked hard. Putting two papers two bed this week, with the Sept. 20 issue going to press on Friday before Shabbat.

Because we will be closed next Monday and Tuesday for Rosh Hashanah, we had to advance our production schedule to meet our usual Tuesday deadline. Incidentally, if you have news for the paper, please send it in ASAP, as with many of the holidays falling on Mondays and Tuesdays, our production schedules will be accelerated.

From all of us here, we wish you a L’shanah Tovah. May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.

Aaron Noble earns Eagle

Mazel tov to Aaron Noble, son of Aida and Sam Noble, who recently was awarded Eagle Scout, the highest honor in Boy Scouts.

Aaron is a senior at Hillcrest High School and a member of Troop 729, sponsored by Temple Emanu-El.

For his Eagle project, Aaron removed and rebuilt a fence around the garden at the Vickery Meadows Learning Center. Aaron began his scouting endeavors as a Cub Scout with Pack 613, and earned the Arrow of Light. At this point he committed himself to scouting.

In 2009, he was awarded the Larry Landa award, which is voted on by his peers in Troop 729. It is granted to the Scout who has dedicated the most energy to helping the younger members of the troop and exemplified scouting spirit during the year. This prestigious award honors the memory of an adult scouter who gave a great deal of his time toward scouting, but whose life was cut short.

Aaron was also nominated by his peers into the honor society of Boy Scouts, the Order of the Arrow, Yanush Chapter, now known as the Arapaho Chapter. He has been active in the chapter as the election youth lead for the last two years. He was also the events youth lead for Camporee 2012 and is the youth lead for Camporee 2013 Northern Trail district. His Scouting spirit and dedication continues.

At Hillcrest, Aaron has successfully completed AP classes in a variety of subjects, is a section leader in the band, fulfilled his role as junior class president and currently serves as student council secretary. He is a regular crewmember for Jay Hoppenstein’s sailing team, and enjoys cycling/mountain biking with the Nick Rains Master Cycling extravaganza. Lately, Aaron has used the last of his free time for automotive repair and apprentice grease monkey at Kip Motor Company.

Congratulations Aaron on your well-deserved honor

Reisman nominated for state Dentist of the Year Award

Dr. James Reisman of Dallas has been nominated by the Dallas County Dental Society for the Texas Academy of General Dentistry’s Dentist of the Year Award. It is considered the most prestigious honor a Texas dentist can earn.

Reisman is one of 15 dentists nominated for this year’s award. He and the other nominees will be honored at a special gala on Friday, Sept. 14, during TAGD’s annual Lone Star Dental Conference in Austin.

Each nominee will be recognized and will receive an engraved plaque. The gala will conclude with the announcement of the 2012 Texas Dentist of the Year and the presentation of the trophy to the winner.

Reisman is a 1976 graduate of the Baylor College of Dentistry and maintains his practice in Dallas. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association and the Dallas County Dental Society. Reisman earned fellowships with both the American and International College of Dentists.

Reisman regularly provides free dental care for veterans, battered women, and cancer survivors through the Jewish Family Service. He has earned the respect of his peers and has been recognized as the 2011 Volunteer of the Year for Jewish Family Services and as a recurring recipient as Texas Monthly’s Super Dentist and D Magazine’s Best Dentist in Dallas.

The Texas Academy of General Dentistry is the second largest dental organization in Texas. Its nearly 2,700 members are dedicated to continuing dental education in general practice. To earn a nomination by a local AGD component or local dental society, a dentist must demonstrate dedication to the profession, service to the community, commitment to the principles of continuing education, and participation in other activities that indicate character and excellence.

Special needs fund awards $66,000

The Gladys Golman/Faye Dallen Special Needs Fund has awarded $66,000 in gifts awarded to seven Dallas-area institutions.

This year’s grant recipients are Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas, Congregation Shearith Israel, Temple Emanu-El Early Childhood Education Center, Ann and Nate Levine Academy, Shir Tikvah Religious School, Congregation Beth Torah Religious School and Preschool, and Anshai Torah Preschool.

The 2012 gifts will help advance teaching capabilities, promote inclusion in the schools and provide educational seminars and training days to further contribute to classroom success for young students with learning differences. These include autism/Asperger’s syndrome, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia and other learning challenges and neurological disorders.

“This is quite a milestone, as the Special Needs Fund has now granted over $300,000 to date to meet the challenge,” Golman/Dallen co-founder Louis Zweig said. “We are most appreciative of all the support received, enabling us to foster new programs in so many institutions this year.”

A large portion of this year’s funds were raised in the spring, when more than 200 bowlers participated in the annual Zweig Family End of School Year Bash benefit event at 300 Dallas in Addison.

Now in its sixth year, the Golman/Dallen mission is “to provide financial and educational resources to support Dallas area preschools, day schools, and religious schools and their teaching staffs so that they and their students with learning differences can achieve Jewish educational goals.”

The fund is a 501(c)(3) organization housed within the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation.

Connecting our Faiths continues Oct. 10

Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger will join his Muslim and Christian counterparts once again at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct.10, at Northway Christian Church when the Connecting our Faiths series continues with Part 3.

This session will focus on the impact of Jesus on Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In addition to Rav Schlesinger, who will explain the Jewish perspective, guests will hear Rev. Doug Skinner on the Christian standpoint and Imam Yahya Abdullah, who will share the Islamic point of view.

Following the discussion, the audience may ask questions of the speakers for further clarification.
In addition, Robert Hunt (from the SMU School of Divinity) and Newell Williams (from the TCU Brite Divinity School) will present their commentary on the words of the three speakers.

The goal of the evening is to promote understanding and harmony between members of the three faiths and therefore work toward tearing down the barriers of misunderstanding and distrust that often separate our faith communities.

Northway Christian Church is located 7202 West Northwest Highway in Dallas.

Refreshments will be served following the lecture.

For information, contact Marzuq Jaami at 972-998-4240 or Tricia Harris at or 214-808-2082.

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Prophecy combines wisdom, insight

Prophecy combines wisdom, insight

Posted on 06 September 2012 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Last week I published my response to the singer Matisyahu addressing his questions about the prayer service, comparing the entirety of the service to a Beethoven concerto, and based upon prophetic insight.

The following is his response:

Rabbi Fried,

Very nice. Have heard this answer before.

My issues are: I don’t have the faith in those men you mentioned were the last prophets, that they “saw into the heavens,” etc. Also, I don’t believe you can say the prayer service is an equal comparison to a Beethoven concerto. The ones who benefit from the playing of the whole concerto vs. the musician stopping are the listeners, not necessarily the musician. Prayer is about the “musician” and God.

I look forward to hearing your responses in your next column.

— Matisyahu

Dear Matisyahu,

These are important questions, and in order to give them the proper focus, I think we’ll need to address them in two separate columns.

I mentioned briefly that the main body of the prayer service outlined in the siddur was composed by a body of scholars called the “Men of the Great Assembly,” which consisted of the leading sages of that generation, among them the last remaining prophets of the Jewish people, (including Mordechai of the Purim story).

This elite society of scholars and prophets had a deep understanding of the Temple worship and the effects it had upon the upper, spiritual worlds (the Sefiros in Kabbalistic lingo) and the ripple effect that had upon our world. They knew, prophetically, that the Second Temple would eventually be destroyed, since they had returned from the Persian-Median exile.

Consequently, they utilized their profound insight into the Hebrew language, their understanding of how to approach the almighty and their prophetic perceptiveness in the workings of heaven — as revealed to them through both Torah and prophecy — to compose a corpus of prayer that could take the place of the Temple worship when the time comes that this replacement should become necessary.

This is not based entirely upon prophecy, but upon wisdom, insight and understanding in the workings of all the above.

As to the point of prophecy: The belief in prophecy itself is considered one of the core concepts of our religion and is one of Maimonides’ 13 principles of Jewish creeds. I state this not simply as a matter of dogma. I say this to you as the very spiritual person you are, who recognizes the essence of a person is not his physique alone but the body’s connection to the neshama, the soul endowed to the body by God.

That neshama, a spark of God Himself, is the person’s unique and personal connection to the creator. With that body/soul connection, a person communicates with God, develops a loving relationship with Him, performs mitzvot, receives and delights in profound spiritual insights that provide the stuff of true, eternal joy and bliss. (Much of that is reflected in music, one of the most spiritual endowments we have.)

If one would believe that we are very distant from God, I would understand that they would have trouble with prophecy; why should God relate things to a puny, distant, disconnected being? But if one lives with the feeling that we are truly close to God, that He has put a “piece of Himself” into us and have a loving relationship with Him, it should make perfect sense that He whispers His innermost secrets to his beloved.

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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