Archive | March, 2014

Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 20 March 2014 by admin

By Linda Wisch Davidsohn

Weitz and Shlesinger recognized for successful 2013

Pictured at right are Fred Shlesinger and Lane Weitz. Both Fred and Lane are with the Principal Financial Group, North Texas Business Center.

Fred Shlesinger, left, and Lane Weitz were recognized for their outstanding production in 2013 with Principal Financial Group | Photo: Submitted by Principal Financial

Fred Shlesinger, left, and Lane Weitz were recognized for their outstanding production in 2013 with Principal Financial Group | Photo: Submitted by Principal Financial

Lane was recognized as the top new Financial Representative in his first full year for the North Texas Business center for his production in 2013, along with being #2 New Principal Producer of the Year, who qualified for the annual recognition trip.

Fred, who has been with The Principal® for almost nine years, serves as a top Senior Financial Representative, as well as a Special Market Developer for the North Texas Business Center.

Fred was the overall #1 Financial Representative in the business center for 2013, along with being #8 in Life Insurance sales and #19 in Disability Income Insurance sales for The Principal overall.

Through a long standing relationship in the Dallas Jewish community, Lane was welcomed by Fred to join The Principal in 2012. Throughout 2013, they worked closely together to jointly help individuals and business owners plan their financial future.

Founded in 1879, the Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®) is a global investment management leader. The Principal offers businesses, individuals and institutional clients a wide range of financial products and services, including retirement, asset management and insurance, through its diverse family of financial services companies.

Both Lane and Fred have been in the DFW Jewish community since the mid ‘80s and continue to be a vibrant thread in the quilt of Dallas Jewish life. Both have served the JCC in various roles for more than 20 years, along with dedicated commitment to Jewish Family Services as well.

Golman Family Celebrates Four 90th Birthdays

On Feb. 27, Julius “Red” and Frances Coleman hosted a first cousins’ celebratory luncheon at their exquisite Bonaventure residence honoring the four first cousins that have recently reached the milestone of their 90th or what is known as nonagenarian birthdays — Julius Coleman, Adlene Harrison, Charles Marcus and Maxine Nathanson.

Birthday celebrants, seated, from left, Maxine Nathanson and Charles Marcus along with standing from left,  Red Coleman and Adlene Harrison.

Birthday celebrants, seated, from left, Maxine Nathanson and Charles Marcus along with standing from left, Red Coleman and Adlene Harrison.

In October 2011, Dallas’ Golman family held a weekend celebration with some 180 attendees honoring the 100th anniversary of their arrival from Russia to Dallas. The late Jake Golman was the first to arrive on Columbus Day, 1911, followed by his five brothers, two sisters and their parents. The first cousins, originally numbering 23, comprise the third Dallas family generation that has now reached six generations. The first cousins have lunch together every few weeks at various restaurants, and over the years the family has continued to have summer picnics and Chanukah dinners with all Golman family members. Reaching this mature age of 90 should give the younger family generations a longevity goal to aspire to achieve. We wish all the birthday celebrants a hearty Mazel Tov!

Temple Shalom Sisterhood to present a Magical Mystery Women of Valor Luncheon

It sounds wonderful! Dallasites can enjoy a special Beatles-themed afternoon of fashion, food and fun as Temple Shalom Sisterhood hosts their Annual Women of Valor (WOV) Luncheon Friday, April 11, at the Bent Tree Country Club, 5201 Westgrove Dr., Dallas.

Festivities will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a trunk show preview, followed by lunch, a fashion show by Terri Ives, a silent auction and a parody of Beatles Songs performed by Cantor Emeritus Don Alan Croll.

This year’s “Fab Four” honorees from the Traditions Judaica Shop are Clare Fishman, Dale Fox, Jill Kirschner and Lucille Klein. All were chosen for this award because of their outstanding involvement in Sisterhood, Temple Shalom and the community. Each Women of Valor portrays exceptional leadership skills and has a positive influence on the community. Elaine Wolff, 2013 Women of Valor, stated that “when I think of these four women and their involvement with Traditions Judaica Shop, many words come to mind…dedication, devotion, camaraderie and endless volunteering hours. They all understand the importance of having a shop in our synagogue that offers Judaica items to the congregation and to the city, to support our Sisterhood and all the great things it is able to do with the financial assistance.”

Admission to the event is $50 per person and tickets can be purchased by calling Dawn Kaufman at 214-738-2535. To pay by check; make it payable to Temple Shalom Sisterhood at Temple Shalom, 6930 Alpha Road Dallas, TX 75240. For additional information, visit Temple Shalom’s website at or email This fundraiser supports Attitudes and Attire and the Temple Shalom Sisterhood.

Temple Shalom’s “Fab Four” honorees from left, Dale Fox, Jill Kirschner, Lucille Klein and Clare Fishman. | Photo: Lisa Rothberg

Temple Shalom’s “Fab Four” honorees from left, Dale Fox, Jill Kirschner, Lucille Klein and Clare Fishman. | Photo: Lisa Rothberg

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 20 March 2014 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Hedy Collins earns CSA designation

Hedy Collins, director of the Jewish Family Services Senior Program is now a Certified Senior Advisor. As a CSA, Hedy is better equipped to help the older adults in our community with their specific needs.

Hedy completed a rigorous training program. She learned more about the physiological changes in older adults, the emotional struggles one experiences during this time of life, specific housing and community resources available to older adults and financial choices and challenges facing older adults. Emphasis was also placed on the ethical responsibilities a Certified Senior Advisor has when working with older adults and their families.

Specific topics included

  • Physiological and cognitive changes of aging
  • Mental health, grief and loss in later life
  • Assessing the need for, and finding, appropriate caregivers
  • Medicare and Medicaid
  • Social Security
  • Financial choices and challenges facing older adults
  • Ethical guidelines when working with older adults

After completing the training program Hedy was required to pass two exams. The first exam was on the main course curriculum and the second was concerning Ethics. While Hedy passed with flying colors, she did indicate that she may have studied harder for these exams than she ever did in college. She also said that getting new business cards with new credentials was an added incentive to study hard.

Now that Hedy has her certification she is a member of the Society for Certified Senior Advisors. As part of the society, Hedy will be required to obtain continuing education credits each year. This will enable her to keep her knowledge and skills current.

Hedy will also have access to a network of professionals and educational opportunities which will further enhance her ability to meet the needs of the older adults in our community.

Supporting the decision to have Hedy qualify for the Certified Senior Advisor designation is just one of the many changes happening under the leadership of Federation Executive Director Bob Goldberg. Bob understands the importance of professional development. He realizes that when professionals are able to participate in advanced training and/or attend conferences, both the professional and community benefit. Bob fully supported the Jewish Family Services committee’s desire to send Hedy for this wonderful training opportunity and certification.

Congregation Ahavath Sholom Religious School second-fourth grade mensches assembled and delivered mishloach manot gift bags for Purim to senior citizens at Mollie and Max Barnett B’nai B’rith Apartments in Fort Worth.

Congregation Ahavath Sholom Religious School second-fourth grade mensches assembled and delivered mishloach manot gift bags for Purim to senior citizens at Mollie and Max Barnett B’nai B’rith Apartments in Fort Worth.

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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 13 March 2014 by admin

By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn

Jay Liberman receives RBC Wealth Management’s 2014 Dick McFarland Award

Good wishes to Jay Liberman, financial advisor with RBC Wealth Management, who recently received the company’s 2014 Dick McFarland Volunteer of the Year award. This honor is bestowed upon one employee each year in recognition of their significant contributions to the local community. Liberman was honored at a reception Thursday, Feb. 20 at the company’s headquarters in Minneapolis.

Liberman was nominated by Plano Branch Director Greg Hornok, who stated that “Jay has dedicated a great deal of time, energy and resources to improving our community over the years and especially in 2013. He also regularly participates in RBC-sponsored community involvement efforts and serves as a wonderful ambassador for RBC Wealth Management.”

In 2013, Jay co-chaired the largest annual fundraiser for the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas attended by more than 700 people. He serves on the board of the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center as vice president and treasurer and participates in a variety of task forces and committees. Most recently, he helped to raise scholarship funds for JCC summer camps through sponsorship of the Erwin Waldman Memorial Golf Tournament. For his efforts, Jay was recognized by the board of the JCC as its 2013 Leader of the Year.

For Liberman, community service is a family affair. He and his family led a community baby shower through Jewish Family Service that collected more than 30,000 diapers and a variety of other supplies for local families in need. Jay and his family also support a wide variety of community organizations important to them.

“As someone who grew up in the Dallas community and benefited from the work of others, I feel it is my duty to give back,” said Liberman. “The greatest personal impact of my work is in the services we provide to families. It is my belief that investing in families and children provide the best return, both financially and, over time, for the community as a whole.”

Liberman has also established himself as a leader in the community. In 2013, he was named to the Dallas Business Journal’s “40 under 40” list for his proven track record in both business and community involvement. The same year, he was nominated by a community agency and accepted into the exclusive Wexner Heritage Program, a Jewish learning and leadership development curriculum for volunteer leaders in North America. He was one of only 20 people selected to participate in the Dallas area.

Liberman has worked at RBC Wealth Management for more than five years. In his role as a financial advisor, he works closely with clients providing advice in financial matters including wealth protection, retirement planning and estate planning.

The RBC Foundation — USA Dick McFarland Volunteer of the Year Award is named for the former CEO and chairman of the firm. Through his personal involvement with various nonprofit organizations McFarland impacted local communities and set an example of volunteerism within the firm. As a part of his award, RBC Wealth Management will make a $1,000 donation to Jay’s charity of choice.

From left, Current RBC Wealth Management CEO John Taft, Jay Liberman and former CEO Dick McFarland

From left, Current RBC Wealth Management CEO John Taft, Jay Liberman and former CEO Dick McFarland

Take part in a health and wellness event March 21 at Legacy Willow Bend

Have an opportunity to meet Alice Carpenter, The Legacy’s wellness coordinator, who will speak about living an active, healthy lifestyle and Executive Chef Jeff Rosenhoover, who will be serving healthy and delicious treats. The event will take place from 2-4 p.m. Friday, March 21.

In addition, guests will have an opportunity to learn how health and wellness are a vital part of the daily lifestyle at the Legacy Willow Bend, and tour the 7,000 square foot Aqua Spa and Fitness Center. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Call 972-468-6208 to RSVP.

The Legacy Willow Bend is a Life Care Community offering Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care and Skilled Nursing, and located at 6101 Ohio Drive in Plano, Texas. For additional information, visit

Michael Weinstein inducted into Intuitional Investor’s All-America Hall of Fame

Good wishes to Michael Weinstein, who was recently inducted into Institutional Investor’s All-America Research Team Hall of Fame. Weinstein, a 1988 graduate of The St. Mark’s School of Dallas and a 1992 graduate of Georgetown University was chosen by Institutional Investor, the industry publication which annually ranks Wall Street’s top analysts, announced that Mike is being inducted into its Hall of Fame. Weinstein has been ranked #1 in the medical technology sector for the past seven years. He made his debut on the All-America Research Team in 1988 and has appeared yearly since.

Weinstein joins a very elite group of Wall Street analysts in Institutional Investor’s Hall of Fame — There are only 54 members out of 15,000 contenders (which honors analysts who have finished in first place at least 10 times in their respective sector or sectors).

Weinstein’s journey to equity research did not happen immediately. As mentioned previously, he earned a degree in International Economics at Washington’s Georgetown University in 1992, but at that point wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do with his life. He accepted a position as an associate metals analyst at J.P. Morgan, thinking that would be a good way to spend a few years in New York while figuring out his next move. By the time he was ready to leave, in 1995, he had impressed his colleagues and the firm’s top brass. Clayton Rose, who was global head of equities at the time, offered to promote Weinstein to a senior research or sales position if he would stay.

“After a fair amount of diligence, I came back and said I’d like to cover the medical supplies and devices sector,” Weinstein recalls. He was attracted to the industry’s long-term growth potential, the chance to learn about new technologies and the opportunity to interact with leading clinicians. J.P. Morgan didn’t have dedicated coverage of those names at that time, so Weinstein was staking out new territory. “Turns out, I was pretty good at it,” he says.

That’s appeared to be an understatement. Weinstein debuted on the All-America Research Team in 1998 and has appeared every year since. He is currently enjoying his seventh straight, and 10th total, visit to the winner’s circle in medical supplies and devices.

The industry has changed a lot since he began covering it. “Companies that were growth companies in the past, today are struggling to grow and have had to find new ways to create shareholder value,” the 43-year-old explains. “End markets have slowed, owing to weaker demand in the U.S. and Europe, which has been a secular shift as more of the financial burden for health care spending has moved from employers to consumers.”

The slowdown in developed markets is prompting many device manufacturers to search for growth in China, India and other emerging economies, he adds. His colleagues comment that “Mike is very knowledgeable and a good stock picker.”

Michael is the husband of Alison, father of Carter and Ashley and son of Dr. Sheldon and Joanie Weinstein.

Is river cruising for you?

Mark Grishman of Cruise One will co-host an event at Martin Lawrence Gallery in  the Galleria.

Grishman, a travel specialist, will treat guests to an exciting night of information about river cruises, wine and intriguing Paris from 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, March 20. A local AmaWaterways representative will also present an informative and entertaining presentation about river cruising, their cruise line and a featured wine-themed cruise through Paris and Normandy, France. . For those not familiar with AmaWaterways, they are a premier luxury river cruise company in the same class as the Viking line and Uniworld River Cruises.

For additional information, or to register for this event, call Grishman at 214-793-8615 or email

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In the image of God

In the image of God

Posted on 13 March 2014 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,

seymourforweb2In Pirke Avot 3:18, Rabbi Akiva says, “Beloved is man for he is created in the image of God.” This is both a gift and a responsibility. For many, these are the most important words in the Torah.

B’Tzelem Elohim — Created in the Image of God” tells us how we should live:

  • What does this tell us about how to treat yourself?
  • If every person is “b’tzelem Elohim,” then what does that say about how we look at every person?
  • Does this mean we are all the same? What about people who are different than us? Are they “b’tzelem Elohim”?

There are so many ways to “interpret” text and music (and lyrics) are interpretations of thoughts and feelings and even of Jewish texts. The world of “Jewish rock music” is expanding every day and the music speaks to us and teaches us. This important message of b’tzelem Elohim comes alive with this song. Download it today!

B’Tzelem Elohim

(By e18hteen — Dan Nichols, Mason Cooper and Michael Moskowitz)

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. (2)
We all got a life to live, we all got a gift to give.
Just open your heart and let it out.
We all got a peace to bring, We all got a song to sing.
Just open your heart and let it out.

CHORUS: When I reach out to you and you to me,
We become b’tzelem Elohim.
When we share our hopes and our dreams
Each one of us, b’tzelem Elohim
We all got a tale to tell. We all want to speak it well.
Just open your heart and let it out.
We all got a mountain to climb. We all got a truth to find.
Just open your heart and let it out. CHORUS
B’reisheet bara Elohim, all our hopes, all our dreams
B’reisheet bara Elohim, each one of us, b’tzelem Elohim

Shalom from the Shabbat Lady.

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

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 13 March 2014 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

It was fun to see Greta Beckerman, Nancy Rakoover, Hanna Hochster and Harold Winston Feb. 20, when I spoke at the Legacy Willow Bend in Plano. In all about 20 folks showed up to hear me share the history of the TJP in Fort Worth and Dallas. Nancy Rakoover reminded me that she and my late mom, Rene, were roommates at Harris Hospital when she had Ronnie and my mom delivered Susan. Susan tells me that they had many shared birthdays over the years. Ronnie lives in Austin with his crew and Laura Rakoover-Peitzer is a teacher in Richardson. Laura’s sons Ben and Nathan are in college at UNT. The only Fort Worthian who missed the talk was Shirley Cohen who I understand was at a family wedding. I love talking about the TJP, if you’d like me to speak to your group, just give me a jingle at 817-927-2831.

Calling all Purim punims

Hooray, It’s Purim time! This time of year, I’m always thinking of learning to bake hamantaschen with my mom in the shul kitchen. Miriam Labovitz, of blessed memory, was leading the charge that day of putting together the dozens of hamantaschen for sale by the Ladies Auxiliary. The tradition continues, and if they are not sold out yet, the shul has hamantaschen for sale this year as well.

Each synagogue is having a celebration Saturday night, and there is a big community event Sunday sponsored by the Federation and hosted by Congregation Beth Israel from 12:30-3:30 p.m. at the synagogue, 6100 Pleasant Run Road in Colleyville. I’m told that the more volunteers the merrier and anyone in sixth grade or above is welcome to lend a hand. If you know specifically when you can help out, email or just let them know when you arrive. Tickets are 25 cents for one, or five for $1. Lunch is $3 for a kosher hot dog, chips and drink.

Chag Sameach!

Last installment of lecture series

There is still time to catch the last of the three-part series “Jewish Relations with the Roman State and the Origins of Christian Anti-Semitism.” UNT professor Christopher Fuhrmann will present this final installment at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 18 at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 4050 South Hulen Street.

Fuhrmann was born in 1976 and grew up in the Kentucky college town of Murray. Following high school graduation, he entered the University of Kentucky, where he took classes in religious history and ancient languages. He entered the history graduate program of UNC-Chapel Hill in 1999 and also did a field in ancient Mediterranean religion. In 2005, he completed his doctorate and that same year became assistant professor of History at the University of North Texas. Now associate professor at UNT, he teaches classes on ancient history and religion, plus co-leads a study abroad program to Italy every other May. He is Roman Catholic, lives in Denton with his wife Tiffany, three children, a dog, a hedgehog and seven laying hens.

The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County.

From left, Hollace Weiner and Myra Schussler at the WRJ Donor Brunch March 2. | Photos: Courtesy of Karen Johnson

From left, Hollace Weiner and Myra Schussler at the WRJ Donor Brunch March 2. | Photos: Courtesy of Karen Johnson

From Left, Randee Kaitcer, Luann Feld and Alice Pritchard are in the spirit at the WRJ Donor Brunch March 2.

From Left, Randee Kaitcer, Luann Feld and Alice Pritchard are in the spirit at the WRJ Donor Brunch March 2.

WRJ donor tons of fun

I’m told by numerous sources that the WRJ donor March 2 at Beth El was a big hit. Those who braved the frigid temperatures and donned their “Downton Abbey” attire were treated to a reenactment of the life of Rosalind Franklin, by ourtowner Myra Schussler.

Loretta Causey sports an amazing hat at the WRJ Donor Brunch March 2.

Loretta Causey sports an amazing hat at the WRJ Donor Brunch March 2.

Called the “dark lady of DNA,” Franklin was a brilliant biophysicist and the daughter of aristocratic British Jews. When her ancestors first moved to England in the 18th century, they anglicized their surname from Frankel to Franklin. The family traced its lineage to King David. Rosalind’s great-uncle served in the House of Lords. Her grandfather’s country estate, Chartridge, had a shochet on staff. At St. Paul’s Girls School, where daily church services were compulsory, she and the other Jewish students were sent into a separate room where they did their homework and joked that these were their “Jewish prayers.”

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Purim’s nuances

Purim’s nuances

Posted on 13 March 2014 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Hi Rabbi,

I have three questions regarding Purim:

I know that we physically feast on Purim because we survived the attempt of physical bodily destruction (as opposed to spiritual celebration from survival of Torah observance), but why is our celebration of Purim a feast and drunken party? Is it perhaps a resemblance to King Ahashverosh’s party, for which the Jews were decreed complete annihilation due to their enjoyment of the feast?

And why was it encouraged by Mordecai, the greatest sage and religious leader of the generation, for Esther to either have relations with Ahashverosh with no marriage and/or no Jewish marriage, especially with the Talmud explaining that Mordecai and Esther were married, when it is a clear violation of one of the Ten Commandments? Perhaps this was because Mordecai knew her role would be in a position to save the entirety of the Jewish people? But is this OK if it is through the foundation of Torah transgressions?

Why was a decree needed for the Jews to fight back? They were still under attack. Couldn’t they defend themselves without a decree allowing them to do so? It would seem the accomplishment of Esther and Mordecai would have been removal of the decree directing annihilation of the Jews.

— Judah

Dear Judah,

friedforweb2Three great questions!

You may have heard the one-line summary of all Jewish holidays: They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!

You are correct that on Purim we have a mitzvah to eat a joyous meal, which is our way of celebrating the miraculous rescue from the first attempt at the “final solution,” first suggested by Haman, a member of Amalek, (the progenitors of the Germans/Nazis). We celebrate our physical rescue in a physical way, as opposed to Chanukah when we celebrate in a spiritual way, (lighting candles), as that was a spiritual, ideological battle.

The drinking a bit more than one is accustomed to (to say the least), is to fulfill the Talmudic injunction to “eat and drink until one doesn’t know the difference between the curses of Haman and the blessings of Mordechai.” On one level, this is to come to the realization that even when things seem to be going badly, ultimately it is for the good. Even when G-d seems to have forsaken us completely, He is always still there behind the scenes to protect us from complete annihilation. G-d’s love for us, although at times is hidden, is always present. There are even deeper meanings of this, beyond the scope of this column.

You are correct about the permissibility of Mordechai sending Esther to be married to the king despite her being married to Mordechai (according to one opinion in the Talmud). The commentaries explain, as you surmise, that although relations with a married woman is something that one needs to forfeit his life for rather than transgress, (as this is one of the three cardinal sins), nevertheless when it involves the rescue of a multitude of Jews, and certainly the entire Jewish people, it is allowed.

The Megillah relates that, when asked to rescind his decree, King Ahashverosh replied that a Royal Decree cannot be retracted. Mordechai and Esther knew that if the decree was still in full force, this may cause the Jews to cower at an attempt to fight an enemy given the full license and strength of the King’s forces. So they sought to at least have royal permission granted to fight back, to give the Jews the confidence that they could just focus upon their enemies, the Amalekites, who were a small portion of the kingdom, and not have to worry about retribution from the King. This, coupled with their renewed trust in G-d, gave the Jews the confidence to overcome their enemies.

May we continue to renew that trust in G-d and overcome the hardships of exile and all our enemies that seek to destroy us; whether in Iran, Gaza, Lebanon or throughout Europe. A joyous Purim to you and all the readers! L’chaim!

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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Chag Sameach!

Chag Sameach!

Posted on 13 March 2014 by admin


A Muppet Purim
5:30 p.m.
The story of Esther takes on a Muppet theme this year. The evening will begin with dinner, followed by the Purim Shpiel. Cost for dinner is $10 for adults and $5 for children 5-12. RSVP required.
Info/RSVP: Stephanie, 817-581-5500,
Congregation Beth Israel
6100 Pleasant Run Road, Colleyville

‘Over the Megillah’
6 p.m., dinner; 7 p.m., Purim Shpiel
Adat Chaverim is hosting its “Wizard of Oz” themed Purim Shpiel and dinner. Cost for dinner is $5 per person and $20 per family. RSVP required for dinner only.
Info/RSVP: 972-491-5917
Congregation Adat Chaverim
6300 Independence Parkway, Plano

Purim Program
6 p.m.
People of all ages are invited to Beth-El to celebrate Purim. A Mediterranean-style dinner will be served, prepared by the Men of Reform Judaism, followed by a traditional Megillah reading and a skit by religious school students. Then, there will be crafts and fun the children, and a concert for adults featuring Jewish music performed by the Fort Worth Madrigals.
Info: 817-332-7141
Beth-El Congregation
4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth

Purim at Tiferet
6:45 p.m.
This evening will have activities for children and adults. Beginning with a Megillah reading, children can then enjoy a costume parade, bounce house, obstacle course and snacks while adults can go to Vashi’s Lounge for live entertainment and adult beverages.
Info: Jennifer Williams, 214-691-3611,
Tiferet Israel Congregation
10909 Hillcrest Road, Dallas

Purim Celebration
7 p.m.
Ahavath Sholom will have a costume parade, contests, skits and a hamentaschen and ice cream reception.
Info: 817-731-4721
Congregation Ahavath Sholom
4050 S. Hulen St., Fort Worth

Purim Celebration and Masquerade Party
7 p.m.
Join the group “The Middle” for the Megillah reading followed by the after-party. There will be dancing, karaoke, noshes, drinks and more. Everyone is welcome to come in costume. Event is free.
Info: Gloria Stayman, 972-712-6721,
Congregation Beth Torah
720 W. Lookout Drive, Plano

CBS Players Performance
6:30 p.m., dinner; 7:30 p.m., show
The theme for this year’s performance is “Esther’s Adventures in Oz: It’s All About Esther.” A barbecue dinner will be served prior to the show. Cost is $7 per person in advance, $10 per person at the door and children under 5 are $4. A dessert auction follows the show.
Info/RSVP: Thressa, 817-860-5448,
Congregation Beth Shalom
1212 Thannisch Drive, Arlington

Adult Costume Party
8:30 p.m.
Anshai Torah will celebrate Purim with its fourth annual adult costume party. This year’s theme is “Night of the Living Jew.” Any costume is welcome or guests can wear their scariest costumes. There will also be skits, songs, snacks, dancing, a DJ, karaoke, costume contest and zombies. Cost is $18 per person or $180 for a party of 10. Prepaid RSVP required.
Info/RSVP: Debbie Butvin, 972-473-7718,
Congregation Anshai Torah
5501 W. Parker Road, Plano

Game Night
8:45 p.m.
The Sephardic Torah Center of Dallas with host a Purim family game night, along with the Megillah reading and an Israeli dinner. Cost for dinner is $15 for adults, $10 for children 4-10 and $60 maximum per family. RSVP required.
Info/RSVP: Rabbi Zecharia Sionit, 917-678-0385
Sephardic Torah Center
6715 Levelland Drive, Dallas

Purim at the JLC
8:45 p.m.
An interactive Megillah reading experience will precede a children’s magic show. Free and open to the community.
Info: Rabbi Shlomo Abrams, 214-724-1007
Jewish Learning Center
7130 Campbell Road #204, Dallas

Community Purim
9 p.m.
Celebrate Purim by tasting craft beer and listening to live music by the Freeloaders. Cost is $20 in advance or $30 at the door and includes all beer on tap and alcohol. Food will also be on sale from a local food truck. Interactive Megillah readings are at 9:30 p.m. and midnight. Hosted by the Intown Chabad.
Info/Tickets: Rabbi Zvi Drizin, 214-810-6770,
Community Beer Company
1530 Inspiration Drive, Dallas

Shearith Israel Purim Party
9 p.m.
Show up in costume for an adult evening of fun with a fire performer, illusionist and fortuneteller, along with food and drinks. Free and open to the community.
Info: Katie Copeland, 214-361-6606,
Congregation Shearith Israel
9401 Douglas Ave., Dallas

Purim — A Villainous Occasion
9:30 p.m.
Join Makom to celebrate Purim and come dressed as your favorite villain. The evening also includes a DJ, Purim Shpiel and an open bar. Tickets are $25 in advance and $40 at the door.
Info/Tickets: Rabbi David Singer, 214-361-6606,
House of Blues
2200 N. Lamar St., Dallas

Purim Concert
9:35 p.m.
Performer Harry Kahn will entertain and educate children about Purim through songs, finger puppets and story telling. Immediately follows the family Megillah reading. Geared for children ages 3-7.
Info: 972-661-0172
Congregation Shaare Tefilla
6131 Chuchill Way, Dallas


Anshai Torah Purim Celebration
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
A children’s Megillah reading experience will begin the morning and then everyone is invited to a free carnival with games and bounce houses. Gourmet barbecue will be available for purchase. Open to the community.
Info: Bob Westle, 972-473-7718,
Congregation Anshai Torah
5501 W. Park Blvd., Plano

Beth Torah Purim Celebration
10 a.m.
Everyone is welcome to attend the event for a Megillah reading while the preschool players present the Purim story through song. Then there will be a carnival with costumers, balloon animals, pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting, inflatable obstacle course and preschool crafts and games. Activities and hamantaschen are free, pizza and falafel sandwich lunch is available for $10 per family or $5 per person.
Info: 972-234-1542
Congregation Beth Torah
720 W. Lookout Drive, Richardson

Nishmat Am Purim Celebration
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Celebrate Purim at Congregation Nishmat Am with a children’s costume parade and family-friendly entertainment. The feature program will be directed by Mad Science where the story of Purim is told from a science perspective that includes magic tricks. Cost is $7 per child.
Info: Yifat Shemmer, 972-618-2200,
Congregation Nishmat Am
2113 W. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano

Rock and Roll Purim
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Temple Emanu-El will host a fun-filled Purim celebration starting with its Purim shpiel. A congregation lunch and adult-only brunch will follow, along with a children’s carnival with face painting, games and prizes. Cost of lunch is $12 for adults and $7 for children 10 and under. The brunch costs $15, which includes mimosas. Registration required for both.
Info/Registration: Becky Slakman, 214-706-0000,
Temple Emanu-El
8500 Hillcrest Road, Dallas

Purim Extravaganza
11:30 a.m.
All ages are invited to celebrate Purim at Congregation Shearith Israel where the party will consist of performers, balloon artists, face painters, bounce houses, a game truck, petting zoo and food provided by Spice of Life Catering. Event is free.
Info: Katie Copeland, 214-361-6606,
Congregation Shearith Israel
9401 Douglas Ave., Dallas

Purim Legacy Visit
11:30 a.m.
A communal visit to the Legacy at Willow Bend to sing and give out Purim baskets to the residents. Hosted by DATA of Plano.
Info: Rabbi Nasanya Zakon, 917-270-2990,
Legacy at Willow Bend
6101 Ohio Drive, Plano

Purim at the JLC
Noon – 1:30 p.m.
Guests can enjoy a catered lunch, live music and a bounce house for children. Prizes will be awarded for children in costumes. Cost is $18 per adult, $10 per child over 2 and $50 maximum per family.
Info: Rabbi Shlomo Abrams, 214-724-1007
Jewish Learning Center
7130 Campbell Road #204, Dallas

Purim Brunch
Come for brunch after a night of celebrating Purim. Cost is $10 per person. Hosted by the Temple Emanu-El Young Adults Group.
Info/Tickets: Melissa Duchin, 214-706-0000,
La Duni Northpark Mall
8687 N. Central Expressway, Dallas

Purim with a Purpose
The afternoon will begin with brunch, followed by the delivery of Mishloach Manot packages for Holocaust survivors in the community. iVolunteer is teaming up with the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance to deliver the gifts at their Purim party for survivors in addition to home visits.
Info: Ilana Weltman,
Intown Chabad
2723 Routh St., Dallas

Community Purim Carnival
12:30 – 3:30 p.m.
The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County will sponsor an afternoon of Purim fun with a costume contest, game booths, bounce houses and more. Game tickets are 25 cents each or five tickets for $1. Lunch, which includes a hot dog, chips and a drink, is $3. PJ Library stories will also be read during the celebration.
Info: Angie Kitzman, 817-569-0892,
Congregation Beth Israel
6100 Pleasant Run Road, Colleyville

STCD Purim Party
4 p.m.
Families are invited for an afternoon of fun to celebrate Purim with a Megillah reading, costume contest, a clown and bounce house, carnival games and prizes, a barbecue, popcorn, cotton candy and more. Cost is $15 for adults, $10 for children 4-10 and $50 maximum for families. RSVP required.
Info/RSVP: Rabbi Zecharia Sionit, 917-678-0385,
Private Residence

Purim in Hawaii
4 – 6 p.m.
Part one of the afternoon will begin at 4 p.m. with a children’s Megillah reading, a Hawaiian craft and Mishlach Manot and a Megillah reading for adults will take place at 4:30 p.m. During part two of the celebration, guests can enjoy a Hawaiian themed Purim dinner, a wine bar for adults and a Purim spy magic show with James Munton. Event is free and open to the community, but RSVP required for dinner.
Info/RSVP: 972-596-8270,
Chabad of Plano
3904 W. Park Blvd, Plano

Purim Seudah
4:30 p.m.
Families are invited to a Purim dinner preceding evening services. Cost is $20 for adults, $8 for children under 13 and children under 5 are free. The maximum cost per family is $50. RSVP required.
Info/RSVP: Jennifer Williams, 214-691-3611,
Tiferet Israel Congregation
10909 Hillcrest Road, Dallas

Purim in Mexico
5 p.m.
Grab your sombrero and join the fiesta at Chabad of Dallas for a Megillah reading, Mexican buffet and Purim activities for children. Those who come in costume will win a prize. Cost is $20 for adults, $7 for children and $50 maximum per family in advance and $25 for adults, $10 for children and $60 maximum per family at the door.
Chabad of Dallas
6710 Levelland Road, Dallas

Purim Seudah
5 p.m.
Families are invited for a festive Persian meal. Cost is $19 per adult for non-members and $15 for members; children under 8 are $8 and children 3 and under are free. RSVP required.
Info/RSVP: 972-618-2200
Congregation Nishmat Am
2113 W. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano

Purim Under the Sea
5 p.m.
There will be a ‘sea food’ dinner buffet with a sushi bar and more, along with a Megillah Reading, costume contest and music. There will also be a special interactive bubble show. Cost is $15 for adults, $10 for children and $40 maximum per family; sponsorships are also available.
Info/Tickets: 817-451-1171,
Chabad of Arlington
2136 Linblad Court, Arlington

Communal Purim Celebration
5:30 p.m.
This Purim celebration features a magician, Chinese dinner, children’s Harry Potter themed crafts, a DJ and dancing. Cost is $25 per adult and $7 per child in advance, or $30 per adult and $9 per child at the door.
Info/Registration: Rabbi Nasanya Zakon, 917-270-2990,
DATA of Plano
3251 Independence Parkway, Plano

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A survivor’s view of God’s influence

A survivor’s view of God’s influence

Posted on 13 March 2014 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

grossforwebSometimes, as I’ve mentioned before, I find unusual treasures in medical settings. One came to me recently in a hospital outpatient treatment room where I waited as my husband received his infusion. Instead of reaching for the usual magazine, I picked up “My Stronghold,” intriguingly subtitled “A Pastor’s Battle with Cancer and Doubts.” The “doubts” part did it. How could I resist?

This little 2009 book, not much over 125 pages, is the first-person account of Joe Fornear, who was diagnosed in 2002 with a malignant melanoma that later spread to 14 of his internal organs. Surely, this disease was a death sentence. And yet its sufferer lived to tell his own tale.

Fornear was, at that time, 42 years old and leading the flock of Fellowship Bible Church in the White Rock area of Dallas — as devout a Christian as you’d find anywhere. So of course his story is filled with the words of Jesus and the experiences of Paul the Apostle. But the book’s repeated theme is its title. Over and over, in different ways, Pastor Fornear says that “God had a strong hold on me.” And near his small volume’s conclusion, he makes this profound statement, which I think people of all faiths might take to heart: “Sometimes the Lord’s strong hold on us is through the extended hands of other people.”

Each brief Fornear chapter begins with a Biblical quote, many — naturally enough — from the New Testament. But the very first is Psalm 139:5-6, as it comes from the Protestants’ New American Standard Bible: “You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me…” And the second is introduced by Job 18:10, from the same translation source: “A noose for him is hidden in the ground, and a trap for him on the path.” My Bible — our Holy Scriptures according to the Masoretic text — renders both these passages quite similarly.

Throughout his personal ordeal (and, believe me, just reading about what he went through is itself an ordeal!), Pastor Fornear says he “gave myself to God’s will,” a very Christian way of expressing exactly how Job acted when tested with more ills than any righteous person should ever be asked to suffer. Fornear’s own understanding of this concept rings loud and clear when he acknowledges his cancer as a lesson-teacher as well as a giver of suffering: “When you are ill, pray boldly…but if your prayers are not answered, God has another purpose…”

And so I turned to a wise Jew, Rabbi Harold Kushner, for his take on this situation. In his book “When Bad Things Happened to a Good Person,” the author of the earlier best-seller “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” imagines what God might have said directly to Job:

“I could have created a perfect world…I chose instead to make a world of challenge and response…a world with no shortage of problems, but a world blessed with great minds and great souls to solve these problems, to invent things, to discover cures…And most important, I did not abandon this world when I finished making it. I was always here, comforting, inspiring, strengthening. Where do you think people would get strength to overcome sorrow, to fight injustice, to heal the wounds of body and soul, if I were not there to infuse My spirit into them?”

I read all these things, too, into Joe Fornear’s much shorter related and often repeated declaration: “When I lost my grip, God had his grip on me.”

Pastor Fornear is still listed in the Dallas telephone directory; he and his wife have founded Stronghold Ministry, whose purpose is “to provide spiritual support and comfort to cancer patients and others in major life crisis.” I think I may call him up and try to put him in touch with Rabbi Kushner. Somehow, I think the two would like each other. I’m sure they would have much to talk about.

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Parents cope with rare disease in their own way

Parents cope with rare disease in their own way

Posted on 06 March 2014 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

grossforwebEverybody ages, but only small children and young teens look forward to getting older. From about 30 on, all people seem to think they’re moving along much too quickly. Milestone birthdays (that’s what I define as all the ones ending in 0, and a few big ones that end in 5, especially 75) begin as fun, then become somewhat terrifying as life goes on; show me someone who really believes the dreamer’s pronouncement that “Life begins at 40”! Finally, these occasions all end up mostly as fodder for nostalgia.

But all bets are off when a boy gets old while he’s still young; really old while he’s really young. Like Sam Berns of Foxborough, Mass., whose recent obituary rated big writeups in newspapers from coast to coast. Sam was 17 on the calendar when he died, but he was already an old, old man.

Sam was cursed with Hutchinson-Gilford syndrome, more commonly known as progeria, a name created from two Latin words loosely translating to “age forward.” He was diagnosed with this rare genetic disease of rapid, premature aging when he was only 22 months old. At his death, the teenager had all the muscle, bone, heart and vein problems, plus the baldhead, associated with the very old. And he looked at least 80 himself.

That obit rang a bell for me, a loud Jewish bell. The only other case of progeria I’d ever heard before this was the son of a rabbi who reconciled sad anger and crisis of faith over his boy’s affliction by writing the book it inspired. The title: “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.”

Of course you know the book, or at least its name. Conservative Rabbi Harold Kushner’s 1978 publication was a New York Times best-seller, and continues to be bought, read and quoted after more than three-and-a-half decades. The author’s dedication was to his very young but very old son, Aaron, who had died just one year before at only 14. “He was afraid he would be forgotten because he didn’t live long enough,” the rabbi said. “I promised him I’d tell his story.”

Suddenly, Rabbi Kushner, who had been serving Temple Israel in Natick, Mass. since 1966, had a second career, but he didn’t cut back to half-time until 1983. Finely, seven years later, when the congregation named him “Rabbi Laureate,” Kushner gave up his pulpit for full-time writing and lecturing (although he has been known to return to deliver a High Holy Days sermon or two). His amazing literary success began only after two publishers first rejected his manuscript; we can only guess how sorry they must be now!

In these two cases, we see two very different ways of parental reaction. Rabbi Kushner didn’t become an author in earnest until after his son’s death, using all the empathy and skill with words honed in the practice of his profession. Sam Berns’ parents created the nonprofit Progeria Research Foundation while their son was still living because, even though they are both doctors, they could find so little information about the disease themselves. Their work generated the HBO documentary film, “Life According to Sam,” which premiered last October in New York. Not only is it succeeding at increasing recognition and better understanding of this devastating condition, it has also generated much money for public education and medical research.

Today, while the Foundation’s work goes on, so does Rabbi Kushner’s. He can fill an ample shelf with the books he’s written since his first blockbuster, all drawing deeply on Jewish wisdom while continuing exploration of his enduring, basic theme. Take a look at Amazon’s list! My very favorite is his 2012 “The Book of Job: When Bad Things Happened to a Good Person.” Next week, I’ll be looking at what both he and a Protestant minister have to say about how that most suffering of all biblical figures has impacted their lives today.

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 06 March 2014 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

A couple of weeks ago, Sheri Allen gave me the heads up that her talented husband Richard wrote a play that would debut at Stage West.

I am looking forward to reading my TVS pal Rafael McDonald’s feature on Richard in next week’s TJP, but in the meantime was thrilled to hear that members of Beth Shalom and others from Tarrant County were on hand in Fort Worth last weekend to see the premiere of “Starbright and Vine.”

More than 35 members from CBS attended the affair. The evening began with a wonderful dinner at the Old Vic Café at Stage West, and ended with a social gathering with the cast.

Allen’s comedy is about an aging writer who teams up with a disillusioned actress to write a sketch for an awards show on national television.

The play runs through March 23 at the Stage West Theatre.

“For years and years I was very story-oriented,” Allen, 54, said from his office at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. “What surprised me most was that I could focus on the characters being together instead of having a contrived crisis, conflict and ending. It was a pleasure. The play wrote itself.”

Another thing that surprised him was how his meditations on aging and mortality would find poignant parallels in real life. He modeled the part of the older comic on Sid Caesar. Caesar died Feb. 12 at age 91.

He envisioned Jerry Russell, founder of Stage West, and father of Texas state senator and governor hopeful Wendy Davis, in the role. Russell read the part in a staged reading Allen directed in March 2013, but he died last September at age 77. “I knew it worked because of his performance,” Allen says. “He had so much to offer.”

Richard Allen is a two-time Emmy-Award winning writer who also serves as professor of Film, Television and Digital Media at TCU.

His plays have been seen on local stages over the past three decades. His most recent work, “The Seduction and Deception of Mozart,” was produced at the University of Texas, Arlington’s Mainstage Theatre in 2012.

Richard’s television credits include Days of Our Lives, General Hospital and As the World Turns.

“Parashah Plays,” Allen’s collection of short comic plays based on the Torah, are performed at synagogues and schools across America.

He is blissfully married to Cantor Sheri Allen of Congregation Beth Shalom, and has three spectacular children: Jeremy, Emily and Rebekah.

CAS receives one-of-a-kind American flag

Major Jay (Bear) Bernstein personally presented an American flag to Congregation Ahavath Sholom recently.

This flag flew with Major Jay “Bear” Bernstein over Afghanistan. Bernstein presented it to Congregation Ahavath Sholom.

This flag flew with Major Jay “Bear” Bernstein over Afghanistan. Bernstein presented it to Congregation Ahavath Sholom.

The flag accompanied Bernstein when he flew over the skies of Afghanistan on a combat sortie aboard an F-16 C+ Block 30 Viper assigned to the 457th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron as part of Operation Enduring Freedom on Mission A4531, Jan. 25, 2014, Aircraft #85-1412.

Major Bernstein and his family are members of Congregation Ahavath Sholom

“At Congregation Ahavath Sholom, our hearts are filled with pride, honor and humility at the gift and presentation of a unique American Flag. This flag is permanently displayed on the synagogue’s Wall of Attributes,” said Michael Linn, CAS executive director.

“We are proud and respectful of all the men and woman that have served in the Armed Forces,” he added.

Volunteer extraordinaire: Terri Mann

Kudos to Terri Mann, a registered nurse, who is a frequent volunteer in the Fort Worth office of Vitas hospice.

“I didn’t want to disappear from hospice,” Mann explains.

After almost 14 years as a hospice nurse, she realized in 2007 that a recent bout with breast cancer had left her unable to lift patients. Staying true to her hospice heart, she resigned as a VlTAS nurse and became a VlTAS volunteer in 20 IO.

Terri says her experiences, memories and the impact patients have had on her are as strong now as they were when hospice was her full-time job.

Although sometimes, just for a moment, Volunteer Terri slips into being Nurse Terri, officially her nursing skills do not come into play as a volunteer; volunteers simply spend time with the patient or help the family. She was needed by one family to drive their young daughter to an art class every week. The instructor included Terri in the class and she had a wonderful time — until the daughter decided she’d rather be with her terminally ill mother, and Terri’s volunteer services were no longer needed. “I felt sad,” Terri admits. “I was suddenly cut off from the whole family.”

Later the mother needed someone to talk to, and Terri was reassigned to the family.

Terri has a psychiatric nursing background that pays off in her hospice work, particularly when survivors are angry — a natural part of the grieving process, she says. “I just listen and offer solutions, and it usually ends in hugs.” She shares her hard-earned wisdom by teaching nursing skills one day a week at Weatherford College.

Over the years, when acquaintances worried that hospice was depressing work, Terri would respond, “No. I find it spiritual, but not depressing.” But she prepares herself, she says, just as she does when she climbs stairs to blow off steam or breathes deeply when feeling stress.

There is one more life lesson Terri is working on: don’t sweat the small stuff. It comes from her husband, a Holocaust survivor who is very clear on what is worth worrying about. “His views of what is important aren’t mine,”

Terri admits. “I see how he carries on, prioritizes. He sets a good example: keep it simple; don’t sweat the small stuff.”

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