Archive | August, 2016

Through book or bima, Kertzers a fascinating family

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

We Jews are such a small part of the world’s population, I probably shouldn’t be as surprised as I always am by personal connections I never anticipated.
Case in point: I’ve learned that there are, here in our North Texas community, members of the Kertzer family.
Many years ago, when I was regularly teaching teenagers in several congregations’ religious schools, one of my most useful books was What Is a Jew? by Rabbi Morris Kertzer. Its subtitle is “A Guide to the Beliefs, Traditions and Practices of Judaism That Answers Questions for Both Jew and Non-Jew.” My well-used copy is still a favorite basis for understanding Judaism, just as useful today as it was at its publication back in 1953.
Kertzer wasn’t a pulpit rabbi, but was often called upon to fill in for congregations needing a substitute. So imagine my happy surprise when I learned, back in the ’70s, that he’d be coming to my own suburban Chicago temple for the six months of our rabbi’s sabbatical in Israel. He knew, because I had written to him, that I was a journalist as well as a Jewish teacher; when he was struck with sudden appendicitis on his first Friday evening with us and wound up in the hospital instead of on our bima, I was one of the congregants called on to lead the service. And he phoned me as soon after surgery as he could. “What do you like better — writing or the rabbinate?” he asked. Who could ever forget a moment like that! He later returned to our area after the death of another local congregation’s rabbi, serving there until a successor was chosen; during that time, we were in frequent touch.
The rabbi’s son definitely chose writing. David Kertzer, a professor at Brown University, won the Pulitzer Prize in biography last year for The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe. Earlier — in 1997 — he was a National Book Award finalist for The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, described by Joseph Esposito of Biographers International as “…about a Jewish boy seized by papal officials, who later joined the priesthood…”
Rabbi Kertzer was 73 years old when he died in late 1983 — a good decade after our last in-person meeting. But I never forgot him, and would often mention him and his book when the subject of explaining Judaism — to non-Jews, and to our own Jewish children — came up in conversation. And it was during one of those casual moments when I learned that there are cousins right here…self-effacing folks who don’t want their names mentioned because they’d prefer I devote all this bit of space to Morris and David.
The latter actually came to Dallas for a family bar mitzvah not too long ago, but I — sadly — was unable to attend. However, I have great hopes that I’ll be able to forge a connection with the son, as with the father, this time through a relative of my own: My niece Joan, my sister’s older daughter, is now a Brown professor herself.
This little exercise in “Jewish geography,” wrapped as it is in a blanket of pleasant memories, makes me think that soon I should write a column about the goodly number of books currently forming a too-tall pile on the central table in my office. I could call it “My Favorite Books that I Haven’t Read Yet,” but I’m sure at least some of them are destined to merit permanent places along with the ones I already treasure most. Rabbi Morris Kertzer’s What Is a Jew? is definitely one of the latter, occupying a prominent spot on my bookshelves’ Judaica section, handy for quick and easy reference.
Today, The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara has finally risen to the top of that other carefully assembled group. And when I have finished that, I’ll be ready to tackle The Pope and Mussolini.

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Back-to-school lunches don’t have to be drab

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

By Rosie Bernstein
Special to the TJP

With the start of the school year arriving, school supplies, backpacks and lunch boxes are lining grocery store shelves everywhere.
But with the excitement of picking out a new lunch box comes the stress of what to fill it with.
And if you’re sending your child to a Jewish school this year, you know that the kosher guidelines make deciding what to pack that much more challenging.
While most Jewish schools require that students bring only non-meat or pareve (non-meat, non-dairy) items from home, some require additional kosher certification on all food items. Please check your school guidelines to be sure.
One of the biggest struggles that comes with the limit of a non-meat lunch is making sure that your child is eating a balanced meal, complete with all the necessary vitamins and nutrients. We spoke to Levine Academy Kitchen Manager Becky Nurko and Registered Dietitian and Culinary Nutritionist Robin Plotkin and put together some fun and creative ways to give your child a healthy lunch that he/she will want to eat, all without the meat.
Both experts agree that non-meat lunches are not the biggest challenge; creativity and changing up lunches from day to day is far more difficult.
“If my kids don’t get (protein) at lunch I know they’ll get a good portion at dinner,” Nurko said. “But there are so many substitutes for different forms of protein.”
Both Nurko and Plotkin recommend beans, tuna, salmon and other fish, nuts, nut butters, milk, cheese and grains such as quinoa and soy as high-protein substitutes for meat.
Nurko believes that the key to nutritious meals is paying attention to ingredients and freshness. She always tries to incorporate all five food groups when packing her kids’ lunches, and she always tries to choose the healthiest and most fresh foods to cook with. Both emphasize the importance of tailoring portion sizes to the child based on gender, age and weight.
Plotkin highlights the importance of having nutritious foods on hand and available at all times.
“Have healthy, nonperishable foods in the car, backpack or purse (such as a homemade trail mix of nuts, raisins, high-fiber cereal and pretzels, individual bags of popcorn, peanut butter crackers, etc.) at all times,” Plotkin suggests. “It’s a life saver that keeps you from running through the drive-through or picking up something unhealthy at the drugstore.”
Above all, both Nurko and Plotkin stress the importance of starting a pattern of healthy choices from the parents.
“It’s about trying to educate the kids to take responsibility for their choices and what they eat and what they drink,” Nurko said.
Plotkin suggests that parents model good choices by eating breakfast, eating meals together as a family, choosing medium over large and trying new foods.
“Kids learn to eat the foods their parents eat,” Plotkin said. “This is important not only at home, but while eating at restaurants, on vacation, at the ballgame, the school carnival and the gas station.”
At the end of the day, Nurko suggests viewing lunch planning as a fun and educational opportunity for the family.
“It’s a great way of actually talking about food and educating the kids about their choices. I see it as an investment. It all starts in the family, and it’s about creating a healthy lifestyle.”
Below are some suggestions from both Nurko and Plotkin for what to pack in school lunches this year.

Nurko’s ideas

Salads are always good and you can always throw in the protein component, whether it’s a piece of salmon, hard-boiled egg, tuna, nuts or beans and some slices of fruit (strawberries, blueberries or oranges).
I always throw in walnuts or almonds that are very nutritionally rich and dressings that are low-fat or fat-free. A sandwich can also be a good meal — a tuna sandwich or egg salad sandwich with lettuce and tomato — and you can use mayo that’s low-fat or fat-free. Pita with hummus is good, but I would make it healthier: a whole-wheat pita with vegetables or falafel balls.
How about a bean and cheese burrito with flour tortilla? You can substitute the beans for meat. At Levine we have breakfast tacos with scrambled eggs and beans and cheese, and kids like to add the salsa and do a make-your-own-taco kind of thing.
Pasta is a possibility. We make pesto with pine nuts that’s also very nutritious. We use whole-wheat pasta instead of just plain white pasta. Salmon or other fish is always good. We need maybe 5-7 ounces of protein a day. It’s very easy to substitute that protein part or just to get that much even if it’s not with meat.
Eggs, peanut butter and beans all make good sources of protein. Think about balancing your children’s nutrition during breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

Plotkin’s ideas

  • Carrots, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, snap peas, peppers, tortilla chips with hummus, and bean or avocado or guacamole dip
  • High-fiber, low-sugar cereal with milk
  • Yogurt parfaits with Greek yogurt, fruit and granola (pack separately and then assemble at school)
  • Cheese and green apple quesadillas or tacos
  • Egg salad, tuna or salmon salad with whole grain crackers or in a wrap
  • Mini skewers of cheese, tomato and cucumber with salad dressing for dipping
  • Mini skewers of fruit and cheese
  • Pasta salad with tuna or beans, veggies and avocado
  • Whole wheat pancakes or waffle with nut butters and jam
  • Black bean sliders on mini buns with ketchup or barbecue sauce
  • Rice and beans with salsa, avocado and a tortilla

Becky Nurko is the kitchen manager/chef at Levine Academy.
Robin Plotkin is a registered dietitian and culinary nutritionist in Dallas. Learn more about Robin at or on her blog:

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Film Festival celebrates 20 years

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

Submitted report

DALLAS — The Jewish Film Festival of Dallas will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a 12-film series brought to audiences by The J and the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs.
Running Aug. 30-Sept. 29, the films will be shown at venues throughout North Texas including locations in Richardson, Plano and Dallas and will feature a wide array of genres including comedies, narratives and docu-dramas.
Tickets for each film are $12 per person in advance or $100 per person for the full series. Tickets can be purchased online or by contacting Rachelle Weiss Crane at 214-239-7138. Sponsorship levels are still available. Any film shown in a language other than English will have subtitles.
“We are very proud of this year’s lineup of diverse and interesting films,” said Crane, producer of the festival. “There’s a little something for everyone to enjoy, and we hope audiences will explore the rich tapestry of Jewish life and connections.”
The Jewish Film Festival of Dallas begins with a free screening (presented with University of Texas at Dallas) of the drama Labyrinth of Lies at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30.
The complete schedule of films is as follows:

Labyrinth of Lies

Tuesday, Aug. 30, 7 p.m.
Edith O’Donnell Arts & Technology Building (first level)
UTD, 800 West Campbell Road, Richardson
This event is FREE and open to the community; however, RSVP is requested to ensure adequate seating.
Directed by Giulio RicciarelliI, Labyrinth of Lies is a drama set in 1958 Germany. Johann Radmann (Alexander Fehling) has just recently been appointed a public prosecutor. A teacher has been identified as a former Auschwitz guard, but no one is interested in prosecuting him. Against the will of his immediate superior, Radmann begins to examine the case — and lands in a web of repression and denial, but also of idealization. During the process he goes after Josef Mengele, who is living in Argentina but flies back to West Germany at will to visit his family. Radmann oversteps boundaries, falls out with friends, colleagues and allies, and is sucked deeper and deeper into a labyrinth of lies and guilt in his search for the truth. But what he ultimately brings to light will change the country forever.
Partners: AJC Dallas, Dallas Goethe Society, The Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies at UT Dallas

AKA Nadia

Thursday, Sept. 8, 7 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
AKA Nadia is directed by Tova Ascher. It was nominated at the 2015 Ophir (Israeli Film Academy) Awards for Best Actress, Screenplay, Cinematography, Makeup, and Music and was the winner of the Israeli Film Critics Forum Prize at the Jerusalem Film Festival.
Maya Goldfish appears to have a perfect life. She is blissfully married to charming Yoav, as senior official at the Ministry of Justice. She has two adorable children, and she herself is a successful choreographer at a Jerusalem dance troupe. But unbeknownst to her family and friends, Maya has a buried secret. When someone from her distant suddenly reappears, she is thrown into total panic as she tries to salvage all that is now dear to her.
Partner: Temple Shalom


Saturday, Sept. 10, 9 p.m.
Angelika Film Center, 7205 Bishop Road, Suite E6, Plano
Tuesday, Sept. 27, 1 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
Dough is a comedy-narrative directed by John Goldschmidt and stars award-winning actor Jonathan Pryce.
Nat, an elderly Jewish baker, is struggling to keep his family kosher bakery alive. His customers are dying off, his sons have no interest in joining the family business, and a greedy entrepreneur is keen to appropriate his property. After Nat hires a young Muslim immigrant and small-time pot dealer, Ayyash, his luck changes. When Ayyash accidentally drops his marijuana stash into the challah batter, customers are ecstatic, and sales begin to soar. But the hilarious dilemma for Ayyash and Nat is just beginning.
Partners: Anshai Torah, BNAI ZION, Dallas Holocaust Museum Center for Education and Tolerance, Simcha Kosher Catering and Event Design

Naked Among Wolves (based on true story)

Monday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
Directed by Philipp Kadelbach, Naked Among Wolves was nominated for Best Fiction Film at Adolf Grimme Awards, Germany, 2016, and was the winner of Audience Awards for Best Film and Best Narrative at 2016 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.
With Hitler’s downfall imminent and desperation setting in, resistance leaders at Buchenwald concentration camp prepare for a late March 1945 camp uprising. However, their carefully laid plans are upended when a new inmate arrives with a three-year-old boy hidden in his suitcase. Though harboring the boy is seen as a threat for the entire underground movement, in an act of humanity in the face of unimaginable brutality, the inmates reluctantly band together to save the boy from certain death.

To Life (Aus Das Leben)

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
To Life (Aus Das Leben) was directed by Uwe Jansen and won the Audience Award for the Best Film at the San Diego Jewish Film Festival.
Polish-born cabaret singer and Holocaust survivor, Ruth, becomes hopelessly despondent when she is evicted from her apartment and encouraged to move into a nursing home. She meets, by chance, a much younger German man, Jonas, who has left the woman he loves and is concealing a devastating secret. They unexpectedly form an intense bond and inspire each other to face adversity with defiance and hope. It’s an uplifting story about the healing powers of friendship and music.
Partners: Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany – Houston, Congregation Shearith Israel

Wounded Land (Eretz Ptzua)

Saturday, Sept. 17, 9 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
Directed by Erez Tadmor, Wounded Land (Eretz Ptzua) was nominated for 11 Ophir Awards in 2015 with wins for Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Makeup. It was also a selection of the Jerusalem International Film Festival 2015.
This hard-hitting, gritty movie portrays 24 chaotic hours in the life of two policemen in Haifa. Kobi is being pressured to spy on his friend and colleague, Yehuda, in a corruption investigation, but a sudden terrorist attack throws everything into disarray. The cops must now maintain order in a hospital where families of victims violently protest the priority shown to the injured terrorist.
Partners: Adat Chaverim, Beth Torah Chai Lights, Men’s Club and Sisterhood, Nosh Nook Catering

On The Map

Sunday, Sept. 18, 7 p.m.
Aaron Family JCC, Zale Auditorium, 7900 Northaven Road, Dallas
Director Dani Menkin will be at the screening to discuss his film.
The sports documentary On The Map is set in the ’70s when the national mood of Israel was gloomy in the wake of events such as the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. And then a miracle happened — the Maccabi Tel Aviv team reached the semifinals of the European Cup Basketball Championship. But what chance did they stand against the four-time defending European champions — the Soviet Red Army team from Moscow? What ensued is the stuff of legends and the subject of this exciting documentary.
Partners: Team Dallas participating in the 2016 JCC Maccabi Games

Rabin in His Own Words

Monday, Sept. 19, 7 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
Winner for Best Documentary at the Haifa International film Festival, 2015, Rabin in His Own Words was directed by Erez Laufer. This extraordinary documentary on Yitzhak Rabin follows the late prime minister’s life from his humble beginnings as a farmer through his distinguished military career and on to his life as a diplomat and politician. Told in his own voice and with many never-before-seen archival film clips (including home movies), this film reveals the complex character of one of Israel’s most outstanding leaders, who pursued his dream of peace regardless of the cost.
Partners: Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, Jewish War Veterans of the U.S. — Dr. Harvey J Bloom Post 256

Sabena Hijacking — My Version

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
Directed by Rani Saar, Sabena Hijacking — My Version won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Film, Los Angeles Israeli Film Festival in October 2015. It was also nominated for Best Documentary Film, Israeli Academy/Ophir Awards 2015.
On May 8, 1972, the Palestinian group Black September seized control of Sabena Flight 971 shortly after takeoff from Vienna en route to Tel Aviv. Israeli Special Forces promptly launched a covert operation to rescue the passengers and retake the plane. Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, and Shimon Peres were active participants in this daring raid. This fast-paced docudrama provides a moment-by-moment reenactment of those nerve-wracking hours.
Partner: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Last Cyclist (Poslední Cyklista)

Sunday, Sept. 25, 2 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
Directed by Jirí Svoboda, The Last Cyclist (Poslední Cyklista) received a Golden Panda Award nomination for Best Directing for a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.
Infertile Jewish couple Helga and Simon Orenstein adopt an abandoned Gentile baby girl and register her officially as their daughter. The child, Klara, has an idyllic childhood in Prague, and enthusiastically embraces her adored family’s Jewish traditions. With the advent of World War II, their lives slowly begin to unravel. Now, laden with guilt for the danger their actions have brought upon their unwitting child, the Orensteins desperately try to save her. It’s a moving story about commitment and Jewish identity.

Fire Birds (Ziporey Hol) with the short film If Not Now, When? playing before

Thursday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m.
Studio Movie Grill, 13933 North Central Expwy., Dallas
Note: Purchase tickets to Fire Birds to attend If Not Now, When?
If Not Now, When? writer and actress Jená Maharramov, who is also a North Texas resident, will be in attendance at the screening of her film.
Fire Birds was directed by Amir I. Wolf and nominated for 10 Ophir Awards, 2015, with a win for Best Supporting Actress. It was also nominated for Best First Fiction Feature at the Montreal World Film Festival, 2015.
The body of an 80-year-old man with a mysterious tattoo and three stab wounds to the chest washes up by the Yarkon River. Amnon, a detective fresh off a suspension, reluctantly takes on the case. As he digs deeper, the investigation gets only more intriguing, leading to a tattoo parlor, romanced widows, and a secret society of Holocaust survivors. This intelligent thriller keeps audiences guessing with a smart mix of humor, charm, and melancholy.
Partners: Dallas Jewish Historical Society, Temple Emanu-El

If Not Now, When? is a short film directed by Jack Watkins and John Roman. It will play immediately before Fire Birds.
Aviva, a lazy, but creative young black Jewish woman, has decided that she should be the next big thing. Unfortunately, the rest of the world hasn’t gotten the memo. She loses day job after day job as she chases her destiny, much to the chagrin of family and friends. Will she be able to tune out the background noise and keep chasing her dreams?

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Miracles for good, bad have meaning for us

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
In your recent column about comforting the mourners for a loss and the Jewish people mourning over the destruction of the Temple, you explained the meaning really is to have a paradigm shift and a different perspective on what took place. Could you please elaborate more on that different perspective?
Bob W.
Dear Bob,
Being that we are presently in the period of the Jewish calendar dubbed “the seven weeks of comforting” following the sad, destructive day of Tisha B’Av, it is indeed appropriate to focus on the meaning of comforting during this time.
I think we can look at this on two levels, where one is a deeper awareness of the other.
Level one is recognizing the Hand of God not only when things are good, but when things seem to be very bad. So bad, in fact, that the very evil perpetrated becomes so insanely evil that it is obviously supernatural in nature.
This is known as the concept of “miracles for the bad.” At times God performs miracles for the good, such as splitting the sea, bringing down the manna, etc. The Jewish people and the world recognize God in these miracles, as these events are quite obviously supernatural occurrences. There occurred equally supernatural events during the course of the destruction.
For example, blood spurted from the canopy of the “Holy of Holies” in the Temple when pierced by the sword of Titus, leading him to believe he had killed the Jewish God. Without going into the reason for this miracle and similar ones, they show us the Hand of God and His involvement no less than when He reveals Himself in ways which are clearly beneficial to us.
When we consider the unprecedented sadistic murder of an entire nation by one of the most sophisticated peoples of the world, utilizing precisely that very sophistication to scientifically decimate millions of people, we are witnessing a “miracle for the bad.”
When we try to explain the sum total of anti-Semitism throughout our history by way of sociopolitical theories, we succeed in explaining perhaps 5 percent of what has actually transpired (in the words of my mentor from Jerusalem).
Even when we don’t grasp the reasons for this type of miracle, we can, nevertheless, be cognizant of God’s presence and involvement due to the bizarre nature of the anti-Semitism manifested in the occurrence and take comfort in that fact alone. (To delve into the Talmudic explanations of some of these historical occurrences is a worthy endeavor, worthy of a separate column.)
We are a nation which believes “there is a judgment and there is a Judge,” and that all things happen for a reason. This applies to the Jewish people in general and to each individual specifically. In this way the individual mourner for a personal tragedy joins the collective mourners over the destruction of Israel and the Temple. Similarly they attain comfort with the trust that what transpired wasn’t for naught.
The second perspective, which completes the understanding of this first point, will be the subject of the upcoming column next week, with God’s help.

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Maccabi gold quenches  Dallas’ 34-year drought

Maccabi gold quenches Dallas’ 34-year drought

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

Team Dallas’ 14-and-under boys’ basketball team won Maccabi gold for the first time in its 34-year history earlier this month. (Far back, standing) Coach Zack Pollack, Jake Duttarer. (Standing, from left) Owen Farris, Tomer Tzur, Robert Tal, Grant Bulmash, Jacob Rosenfeld. (Front) Phillip Prostok, Chase Olswanger, Nathaniel Trink and Alex Witheiler. JCC photo

Team Dallas’ 14-and-under boys’ basketball team won Maccabi gold for the first time in its 34-year history earlier this month.
(Far back, standing) Coach Zack Pollack, Jake Duttarer. (Standing, from left) Owen Farris, Tomer Tzur, Robert Tal, Grant Bulmash, Jacob Rosenfeld. (Front) Phillip Prostok, Chase Olswanger, Nathaniel Trink and Alex Witheiler.
JCC photo

By Brian Bateman

At the 2015 Maccabi Games in Dallas, basketball coach Zack Pollack celebrated his squad’s consolation victory with a slide on the gym floor.
He was thrilled that the 14-and-under boys’ squad rallied back from a tough loss to win the consolation bracket, but in the back of his mind, he knew what could have been — primarily how Australia’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer knocked Team Dallas out of medal contention and into the consolation bracket.
The victory was a temporary lift, but the team, and Pollack, was hungry for more.
A year later, and the 34-year 14U drought was over: Dallas had its first-ever gold in 14U Maccabi basketball.
“As soon as last year ended, we had a really good plan what we wanted to do,” Pollack said.
Team Dallas returned three players from the same squad and seven overall that knew the system. Pollack started tryouts early in December.
One big pickup was Grant Bulmash, who Pollack said is the “best one-on-one player I’ve ever seen at the time I coached him.”
Pairing Bulmash with Robert Tal gave Team Dallas a dominant core, and Pollack was able to surround them with shooters and ball handlers.
But Team Dallas’ biggest asset was the singular goal the players held.
“On the Friday before we left for Maccabi, I told everyone to tell me their goals,” Pollack said. “I was guarded. I said, ‘As long as you guys play your best, then it’s a success.’ But what shocked me was that all but one kid said, ‘It’s gold or nothing for us.’”
At that point, Pollack knew he had a winning team, and a tough task ahead.
“It was a lot of pressure for me. I knew that we had to bring home the championship. It was something I will never forget.”
Team Dallas arrived in St. Louis the next week, and pool play was a double-edged sword: Dallas breezed to an easy 4-0 record, but that poor strength of schedule meant Dallas dropped to a No. 2 seed in tournament play. It wouldn’t be an easy road to the championship.
But Team Dallas was well prepared. When Bulmash and Tal had possession, defenses faced a dilemma. Do they double-team Bulmash or Tal? What about shooters like Jacob Rosenfeld or Nathaniel Trink? Very few teams could solve that riddle.
One that almost did was Atlanta, who whittled down Dallas’ 25-point lead to 2. Phillip Prostok saved Dallas with two clutch free throws to win, 71-67.
In the final, Dallas took on Baltimore, the squad which beat both the Dallas A and B team last year.
“Everybody wanted revenge,” Pollack said.
Baltimore fielded essentially the same team as 2015 absent their starting point guard. Baltimore found ways to slow down Dallas’ athletic offense to the tune of a 12-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
What was worse: Dallas’ defensive schemes weren’t cutting it. Pollack said the squad ran seven different defenses in the tournament. Usually by the second or third attempt, the opponents became so frazzled that they turned the ball over, second-guessed themselves out of opportunities or just made poor shot selections.
Baltimore was a tougher nut to crack.
After several attempts, Pollack found a defense that worked: a 2-2-1 halfcourt trap.
Tomer Tzur started a rally on the other end of the floor with a big 3-pointer and several steals that led to transition points, and Dallas was off to a 23-2 run.
Baltimore recovered its composure and got a boost when Bulmash picked up his penultimate fourth foul at the 4-minute mark.
Pollack was sweating, trying to protect a 6-point lead. He put in his five best ball handlers and stalled the clock for 2 minutes.
That allowed Bulmash to return and dominate the one-on-one matchups. Jake Duttarer dribbled out the clock for a 59-49 win and that elusive gold medal.
“Every one of our 10 kids had family members that watched a game in St. Louis.
“Most of them watched several. It was crazy parental support,” Pollack said. “They were live-streaming the game on Facebook. At the time, I had no idea how big this was for everyone outside of us.”
At least four players will try to ride their success into the Maccabi national team tryouts Sept. 10-11 in Philadelphia. Bulmash, Tal, Phillip Prostock and Tzur are all expected to attend.
“This will be a springboard for next year,” Pollack said. “We’ve won 16U gold before, but it was nice to get that 14U medal.”

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Around The Town: Photography exhibit, religious school

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Photography exhibit at Beth-El: Jewish Life Today in Eastern Europe


The revival of Jewish life in post-Holocaust, post-Communist Eastern Europe is a story of Biblical proportions. Local Israeli-American photographer Loli Kantor has spent more than a decade traveling from Texas to Krakow, Lviv, and the Carpathian Mountains, gaining the confidence of families as they rediscover Jewish traditions.
Her documentary photography is the subject of Beth-El Congregation’s current art exhibit, Presence: Jewish Life in Eastern Europe Today. The three-month show continues through October in the board room of the Temple at 4900 Briarhaven Road.
The exhibit includes several large, fine-art color photographs and more than 20 small, intimate, palladium prints the size of negatives. The gallery is equipped with magnifying glasses that viewers may use to study these small pictures in detail.
Several events are planned to acquaint the public with Kantor and her oeuvre:
Meet-the-artist reception, 9 p.m. Sept. 9, during the Oneg Shabbat following services.
Art Salon, 7-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20. An opportunity to speak informally with the photographer about her experiences and the techniques she uses to develop and print her photos.
A fine-art and documentary photographer, Kantor is often abroad and on the road. Her work has ranged from photographing theater in Fort Worth to documenting the lives of Jews in Eastern Europe and the transformation of Jewish life and culture there.
Born in Paris to Jewish Polish Holocaust survivors and raised in Tel Aviv, she brings a deeply personal interest and unique sensibility to this project. Her work has been exhibited widely in the United States and abroad in China, Ukraine, Poland and the Czech Republic. It is included in museum collections in the U.S. and abroad. Kantor’s next stops will be in San Francisco for a group show at the Contemporary Jewish Museum and in Amherst, Massachusetts, for a five-month solo show at the Yiddish Book Center.
Kantor’s coffee-table book, Beyond the Forest: Jewish Presence in Eastern Europe, 2004-2012 (University of Texas Press, November 2014), is for sale the Judaica Shop.
— Submitted by Beth-El Art Committee

Beth-El Religious School picks engaging theme for 2016-17 school year

“Why Should I Be Proud To Be Jewish?” will be the theme for the 2016-2017 Religious School year at Beth-El Congregation.
“We believe this is one of the most important questions we should ask in our day in age,” said Ilana Knust, Religious School director.
The theme will be evident on the first day of classes, Aug. 28, with a Jewish pride exhibit and will connect to every aspect of the curriculum and holiday celebrations.
“It is not enough to teach our students to do Jewishly and to know Jewishly; we must give them good reasons to want to stay Jewish and to pass it on, from generation to generation, l’dor v’dor,” added Knust.
Students will have a chance to explore and question their faith on different level

s, with the hope that this journey to discover the beauty of Judaism will promote a sense of pride and Jewish identity.
A new addition to Beth-El Religious School programming is a class for 2- and 3-year-olds. While their children are involved in the classroom, parents will be able to participate in Jewish learning and engage with the Beth-El community.
Contact Ilana Knust at

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Temple Emanu-El welcomes Cantor Glikin

Temple Emanu-El welcomes Cantor Glikin

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

By Aaron Greenberg
Special to the TJP


Photo: Winn Fuqua Cantor Vicky Glikin had heard great things about Temple Emanu-El, which she says “has a national reputation as a leader in terms of creativity and types of clergy.”

DALLAS — If it were any other opportunity that had knocked, Cantor Vicky Glikin might have stayed in the Chicago area, where she has spent most of her life since arriving in the United States at age 13.
“I was very happy where I was and it was difficult to leave because I loved the people and felt very connected to them,” she said. “Chicago was home.”
But she knew serving as the senior cantor at Temple Emanu-El — a position recently held by her mentor, Richard Cohn — was something she had to seriously consider.
“If I’m going to put my heart into it, I want it to be the right place,” Glikin said. “I had heard amazing things about their congregation, which has a national reputation as a leader in terms of creativity and types of clergy.”
After visiting Dallas — and falling in love with it — she and husband Vlad Leybovich took the plunge.
“We saw this is a place where we could enjoy living,” she said, citing the foodie scene, theater, museums, cosmopolitan nature, friendly people and weather.
She sees her vision for Temple Emanu-El fitting in well with the “transformative work” being carried out by the clergy and congregation.
“Something that struck me from the beginning is the level of intentionality and thoughtfulness at every level,” Glikin said. “Despite the huge membership, I’m struck by the desire to make a difference in each member’s life.”
To do that, she has to embrace a number of different roles.
“These days, a successful cantor has to do it all,” Glikin said. “The sound people are looking for on the High Holidays; sit on the floor with the 3-year-olds and sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider in Hebrew; song lead with my guitar — moments of grandeur and those of real intimacy.”
She cites Cohn as her model of “full clergy.”
“The cantor he modeled not only led music but officiated lifecycle events, taught, provided pastoral care.”
Glikin, who took over the position at the beginning of July, was ordained in 2012.
Her ordination was the culmination of many years of cantorial soloist work, teaching classes, and going through the rigorous program at Hebrew Union College’s Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music.
Nor was it her first career. Glikin was an equity analyst while she continued to delve deeper into her Judaism.
“The journey starts in Ukraine, a musical kid with a strong Jewish identity,” she said.
Being Jewish in Ukraine was more cultural than religious, so her first real exposure to sacred Jewish music came at age 11. She was immediately hooked.
Once stateside, she joined the choir at B’nai Emunah, a conservative synagogue. Then she was a soloist at Congregation Beth Am and for a Russian-speaking congregation, where she also taught in the religious school.
The next big step was in 2004, when she was a soloist at North Shore Congregation Israel. Cantor Cohn — who later came to Emanu-El and is now the director of the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music — served as a mentor, and created a year-round position for her. Glikin led family services and educational programs.
“I absolutely loved it,” she said. “Spiritually, I felt connected to Torah, and that it enriches my life.”
Despite her strong Jewish identity, she had once thought of the Torah as “archaic.”
One formative moment in connecting with the words at the heart of the tradition was a Birthright trip she went on with her fiancé, now her husband.
“That was a tremendously important step, the first time I really studied Torah,” Glikin said.
The story of Abraham, who also uprooted his life and found new meaning, especially moved her.
“I realized, it’s not archaic, it’s amazing,” she said.
She also credits an Orthodox group, the Chicago Torah Network. Purim was approaching and she wanted to learn more. The outreach group of rabbis welcomed the couple for Shabbos, and they studied each week.
Being at North Shore gave her a chance to take on more and more challenges, moving her ever closer to the cantorate.
“They loved what I had done and I absolutely loved what I was doing,” Glikin said.
When people told her how much they were inspired by her teaching of Avinu Malkeinu to the kids, the decision was made.
“At that point, I turned to my husband and said, ‘I want to become a cantor.’”
She spent three years at North Shore, two with Cantor Cohn and one with Cantor David Goldstein, like Cohn, a former president of the American Conference of Cantors.
During that time she took classes and studied the liturgy, but knew it would take more.
“I realized that to be the cantor I wanted to be, I needed to go to HUC,” she said.
That would not be easy.
“Even though I was a tremendously knowledgeable soloist, when I started HUC I discovered I didn’t even know what I didn’t know. Judaism is tremendously complex, not just black and white. We are entirely in that gray.”
In addition to the tough coursework, there were family considerations. The first year was in Israel, and her husband and children would have to make the trip as well.
“I had two kids. My daughter turned one a week after we got to Israel and two weeks later my son turned three,” Glikin said.
Once back in the states, she spent as much time as she could in her student pulpit, Temple Sholom in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, and was in the Wexner Graduate Fellowship program, which helped develop her leadership skills.
She strived “to be a really full presence” at Temple Sholom, using it as a way to prepare for a full-time pulpit.
The breadth of her experiences helped her immensely once classes were complete. Between the student pulpit, the migrant experience, her work in the field as a soloist and teacher, and her previous career in finance, she came out of school ready for the serious responsibilities the position entails.
‘Low resistance to change’
“It gave me a sense of maturity and responsibility — not that I think it is unprecedented — but I think these experiences helped shape me,” Glikin said.
She spent the next four years at Congregation Solel in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago. It was a great opportunity to develop her style and try new things.
“It is a pretty unique place in that it is a congregation of low resistance to change,” she said. “It’s a place where I was able to bring all my talents to the table, and to create programming and vision in a full way and see my ideas come to fruition in a full way.”
Glikin said she’s been very impressed with how the clergy, lay leaders and members of Temple Emanu-El approach the music program and the foundation laid by previous cantors.
One moment she will cherish came from hearing the choir sing her arrangement of Yihyu L’ratzon/Oseh Shalom.
“To hear that setting of the prayer I composed sung by the glorious Temple Emanu-El choir was tremendously moving,” Glikin said.
She has also been impressed by the commitment made to transform the physical space, such as planning and raising funds for the new chapel.
“It speaks volumes about the congregation’s ability to envision something and bring it to life,” she said.
The first year for a cantor in a new congregation always has one especially big hurdle — the first high holiday services. Another big moment will be her installation Nov. 18.
Although Glikin said those will really help her feel she has settled in, learning on the job never stops — and neither will the programming.
“We have a tremendously full musical calendar for the year,” she said. “The High Holidays are just a beginning.”

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Dallas Doings: Half century of Sisterhood, JWV, pinball fundraiser

Dallas Doings: Half century of Sisterhood, JWV, pinball fundraiser

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

HOD (1)

Photo: Deb Silverthorn Hebrew Order of David raises money for CHAI The local chapter of HOD, the Hebrew Order of David — a Jewish men’s philanthropic fraternity — hosted a Purim costume party in March which raised $5,000 for the benefit of CHAI/Community Home for Adults, Inc. On June 5, members visited the CHAI Todd House to see renovations made possible by their donation and to participate in a cleaning project which transformed a cluttered garage into a usable space for future activities. CHAI representatives were on-hand and thrilled with HOD’s generosity of time and monies donated. Participants were, from left, front row: Joan and Boris Gremont (HOD president), Lisa Brodsky (CHAI CEO), Jim Liston (CHAI board president), David Romick (CHAI VP), Gabe Weisblatt, and Serina Romick; from left, back row: Harold Baeck, Gary Bonner (HOD VP), Jeff Romick, Seth Weisblatt, and Zac Romick (not pictured: Mark Romick). — Submitted by Deb Silverthorn

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Temple Shalom Sisterhood reaches half-century mark

50th Photo Album 1082

Temple Shalom Sisterhood founding members (from left), Dottie Garment, Elaine Wolff, Shirley Zlotky, Marlene Fischer and Deje Bemel

Temple Shalom Sisterhood celebrated their 50th anniversary Saturday, Aug. 6 with a daylong celebration of prayer and song.
The day began with a Shabbat service led by Cantor Devorah Avery and contemporary singer-songwriter Julie Silver. Sisterhood’s founding members were honored during the service, as well as past-presidents and past women of valor. At the luncheon, Co-Presidents Ali Rhodes and Lonna Rae Silverman welcomed their guests by reading a personal tribute from Sisterhood’s first president Pat Weiss, and then awarded five lucky Sisterhood members door prizes for fine dining and overnight hotel stays.
The celebration concluded with a Havdallah service and free community concert. Julie serenaded the crowd, accompanied by Scott Lavender on piano, with a medley of traditional liturgies and original songs.
“Julie touched our hearts with her warmth and words,” exclaimed Ali Rhodes. “We will carry her spirit with us as we look forward to the next 50 years!”
— Submitted by Lisa Rothberg

Share a lox and bagel with JWV

The article about the German World War I photo in last week’s Around the Town column brings to mind The National Museum of American Jewish Military History.
Located in Washington D.C., the exhibits depict Jewish participation in all wars America has fought. The building also houses the headquarters of the Jewish War Veterans of America. To learn more about the museum, join the Dr. Harvey J. Bloom Dallas Post 256 of the Jewish War Veterans of America at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 28, at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas. The best lox and bagels breakfast in town for only $5 will also feature guest speaker Chuck Cooperstein, the renowned play-by-play radio announcer of the Dallas Mavericks. Everyone is invited, veterans and non-veterans, young and old.
— Submitted by Andy Lavigne, Sr. Vice Commander, Harvey J. Bloom Post No. 256 Dallas, Jewish War Veterans of America

Marx Memorial Pinball Fundraiser

The Marx family will host their fourth annual Alan Marx Memorial Pinball Fundraiser at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, at their Garland home, 5229 Alec Drive. There will be more than 25 arcade and pinball machines available to play, a silent auction, a pinball tournament, random gift card drawings, a cash bar, free snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, and more. The Marx family is underwriting the entire event and all proceeds will go to two local Jewish organizations, Bnai Zion and Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association.

Louis Marx

Photo: Marx family Louis Marx stands by a collection of pinball machines. His family will host a pinball tournament Sunday, Sept. 11 in Garland. All proceeds will benefit Bnai Zion and the Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association.

Alan Marx passed away in 2008. After retiring, he volunteered for eight Dallas-area Jewish organizations. While all of those organizations were important to him, two carried special meaning for him: Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association and the Bnai Zion Foundation.
Why a pinball tournament? According to Louis Marx, Alan’s youngest child, “Dad didn’t think I knew how to have fun so, when he passed, one of his wishes was that I spend half of anything I get from him on something fun. While I’ve collected since 2000, I only had a few machines prior to that time. Dad’s gift paved the way for the game room you see today.” Indeed, Louis has amassed a collection of machines which currently includes 19 pinball machines and nine arcade games. Louis notes, “It’s funny because no one really knows me. Dad’s been gone eight years but anywhere I go in the community, people still tell me that they knew my father. They introduce me as Alan’s son and enjoy reminiscing about him. He still casts a big shadow.”
Louis Marx is a past president at the Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association and he and his wife Kimberly also serve on the Bnai Zion Texas Region board of directors. According to Avrille Harris, executive director for the Texas Region of the Bnai Zion foundation, “This evening is a tremendous amount of fun and, on a more serious note, the proceeds come to Bnai Zion to help keep our ongoing projects in Israel.” Iris Sheppard, Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association president, added, “The Marx Family’s generosity helps DHFLA offer a hand-up to members of the Greater Dallas Jewish Community through interest-free loans.”
The event page for this event is a publicly searchable Facebook page, found at Any questions can be directed to Louis Marx at
— Submitted by the Marx family

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Serious Middle East news … or political backdrop?

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

HAIFA, Israel — After just over four weeks in Israel, I can categorically state that I have totally OD’d on the two news stories that seem to be on every local and international station or online news website I go to: the Rio Olympic games (locally), and the U.S. presidential race (worldwide).
Thankfully, the former ended this week. But the election coverage will continue and only increase as we get nearer to Nov. 8.
My problem is the endless stream of talking heads and “experts” (usually a former politician, campaign staffers from both parties, a retired military officer, two journalists — from the left and the right — and a scholarly professor who has a formula that can predict the results), that pop up on multiple stations. Within one minute it’s easy to know which candidate the station supports. And since it’s the same talking heads, regurgitating the same data and story-of-day, it gets pretty boring pretty quickly.
I was hoping to find fresh faces and analysis from my usually trustworthy stand-by news sources like Fox, CNN, SKY (England), Sputnik (Russia), PressTV (Iran), and even Al-Jazeera USA (online), but to my surprise (or not…) they all had more or less the same talking heads with the same rudimentary and predictable partisan talking points.
But the horrific terrorist attack in Turkey on Sunday, where a young boy of 12, recruited by Daesh (ISIS), blew himself up at a Kurdish wedding in the Southeastern city of Gaziantep, killing 51 celebrants and wounding dozens more, snapped me back to the reality of the Middle East.
Here are some of the news stories you may have missed. One has a possible connection to the elections.

Turkey and Israel

Last Saturday, Turkey’s parliament approved a reconciliation agreement signed with Israel in June, ending the six-year rift between the two regional powers over the Marvi Marmara boarding incident. Both countries will reappoint ambassadors, and military and commercial ties (which were never really disconnected) will be “re-established.”

Turkey and the United States

Scheduled before Saturday’s Islamist terrorist attack on Aug. 24, Vice President Joe Biden is visiting Turkey for meetings with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. This is the first visit by a high-ranking U.S. official since the failed coup attempt in July. While the ongoing war against ISIS will no doubt be high on the agenda now, I understand that the main reason for the visit was to discuss the deterioration in U.S.-Turkey relations, and the delicate subject of extraditing fanatical Sunni cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Erdogan accuses of organizing the failed coup.
Also on the agenda will probably be the recent request from Erdogan’s new “best friend” Vladimir Putin to use Turkey’s air force base at Incirlik for bombing raids against anti-Assad Arab and Kurdish rebels in Syria (in addition to the bases Russia is already using in Iran).
This could be a major humiliation to the U.S. if Erdogan agrees to the request, since:

  1. The base was built by the U.S. for the American and Turkish air forces.
  2. It’s the main U.S. “coalition” and NATO staging area for airstrikes and rescue missions in Syria, Iraq and potentially Iran.
  3. The U.S. stockpiles over 50 B-61 thermonuclear (hydrogen) bombs at Incirlik.
  4. Putin is supporting the forces the U.S. is fighting (Assad).
  5. Turkey is fighting the Kurds that the U.S. is supporting.
  6. Russia and Iran are developing close military relations, etc.

So if this is such an important tactical and strategic issue for the safety and security of the United States and Israel, am I the only one that’s wondering why Vice President Biden is going to try to thwart it? Especially after Turkey’s Prime Minister Yildirim said Saturday that he sees no reason why Russia and the U.S. can’t “share” the base.
Why Biden? Such a high-level meeting would not be held unless the outcome is known and agreed on in advance. If failure, then the meeting would be canceled in advance and further staff-level negotiations would probably be held. If successful, then the president, not the VP, should be in the limelight at the photo-op. Unless…
I have a wild theory. Could it be that Joe Biden is the understudy who is being prepared to stand in at the last moment as the Democrats’ presidential candidate if hypothetically the position becomes available, and that this whistle-stop trip to the Middle East where he is meeting key leaders very briefly is for the photos to support his international “credentials” with voters? I said it was a wild theory…
Could be serious news, could be political backdrop, or could be both.
Agree or disagree, that’s my opinion.
Lt. Col. (IDF res) Gil Elan is president and CEO of the Southwest Jewish Congress, and a Middle East analyst. Email: briefings and SWJC events are listed at:
DISCLAIMER: Opinions are the writer’s, and do not represent SWJC directors, officers or members.

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Surveying Korea, 60 years after military service

Posted on 18 August 2016 by admin

Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part story.
Who would have thought that less than one hour after my wife and I arrived in South Korea last month, the question of “How many Jews live in Korea” would come up?
We were on a bus of newly arrived Korean War Era Veterans, guests of the South Korean government, to commemorate the 63rd Anniversary of the armistice ending the Korean War.
On the 45-minute drive to our hotel in Seoul, a young Korean tour-guide began to provide basic information about her country, but we were busy admiring the rich-green forested areas, lush rice paddies, wide modern highways, industrial plants, high-rise apartment buildings and tall skyscrapers, none of which existed when I was in Korea.
“We have two major religions,” the guide related, “Buddhist, around 20 percent, Christian, 30 percent (made up of Catholic and Protestant) and the rest, mostly young people, have no religion.” So, I assumed, “no Jews,” other than some U.S. soldiers stationed there.
My interest peaked and I decided to look into the Jewish presence in South Korea. Here are my findings:
There is a general belief that the first Jews in Korea, estimated to number 150,000 during the course of the Korean War (1950-1953), were among the 1,845,000 American and British forces who came to South Korea’s aid after North Korea’s invasion.
I had arrived after the war, serving as an army photographer (1955-1956). I learned years later that a young rabbi, Chaim Potok, had served as an army chaplain in Korea during the same time period; however, we had never met.
In addition to the U.S. military presence, which would normally include a number of Jewish soldiers, there are a small number of Jewish civilians who work and live among Seoul’s 10 million population.
Since 2008, a Chabad House near the U.S. military’s Yongsan base has worked with the chaplain to provide for the relatively small Jewish community of 100 to 200.
At present, the Seoul military base is in the process of closing, moving to a much larger base under construction 40 miles to the south, destined to become “America’s largest military complex in Asia.”
As a result, Seoul’s Chabad House will take on a more important role as it becomes the sole central focus of Jewish life, culture, and religion in this lovely, vibrant, modern city that rose from the ashes of the Korean War.

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