Archive | August, 2016

How baseball helped camp get Torah

Posted on 18 August 2016 by admin

“Coincidences” — those meaningful occurrences which I credit to God desiring anonymity — continue to abound. Here’s the latest one in my own life …
Last Shabbat, I was privileged to be our synagogue’s galilah, the one who dresses the Torah scroll after it has been read, readying it for return to the Ark. That scroll was the one my family in Pittsburgh gave to us here at Beth Torah a dozen years ago; I covered it with a new mantle, replacing the one worn-out from so much loving use. Waiting for me in the mail when I returned home was the story of another Torah, another Pittsburgh story, this one clipped from the city’s Jewish Chronicle.
We here in Dallas are proud of our Texas Rangers, riding high over the American League in this year’s baseball season, while my hometown’s Pirates sink in the National. But this story harks back to a more glorious time in Pittsburgh baseball, and its Jewish connection is profound. A God-fueled coincidence, indeed!
Emma Kaufmann Camp has a virtually unmatched record of continuous service to the Jews of its city. Now owned and operated by Pittsburgh’s Jewish Community Center, it is enjoyed by hundreds of area youngsters every summer. It began much more than a century ago as a place to give crowded immigrant city dwellers — primarily mothers and their young children — an outdoor summer experience. Named for a member of a major philanthropic Jewish family of the time, it was fondly referred to as “Emma Farm.” That name remains today. It’s where I got my own first camping experiences, beginning in the years of World War II, and where I later became a counselor. Today, on newer, expanded grounds, “Emmafarm” — pronounced as a single word — rises as a mountain in the landscape of Pittsburgh’s Jewish history.
The camp never had its own Torah, always borrowing one for summer use from one or another of the many city synagogues. But 15 years ago, Lenny Silberman — then Emmafarm’s director and now head of the Kaufmann Camp network — learned that the U.S. Military would have three scrolls for sale following the closure of its bases in Iran. The smallest scroll — light enough for a camper to lift as hagbah at the conclusion of services — would cost $8,000. The most prized possession of Silberman — a true Pittsburgher in his love for the Pirates no matter their league standings — was a bat once used by the team’s most revered player, Roberto Clemente, the first-ever Latino inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame. He took it to a national sports convention and sold it — for exactly $8,000.
After Silberman had the money in hand, “I kissed the bat goodbye,” he told Chronicle reporter Adam Reinherz. “It’s a baseball thing — like when you hit a home run.” But he didn’t talk about it then. The real “home run” wasn’t hit until last month. After all the years before Silberman told his story, it took two more to locate Roberto Clemente, Jr., whose father died back in 1972, when his chartered plane, filled with aid for victims of a Nicaraguan earthquake, crashed soon after takeoff from his native Puerto Rico, falling into the Atlantic, killing everyone on board.
The big Torah celebration, with the junior Clemente on hand, took place at Emmafarm July 24. There, 400 campers heard his message.
“I made them show me their index fingers,” he said. Then he told them, “Take a look and see what you see. Your fingerprint makes you unique. No one will ever be able to match that in the world. So whatever you touch, touch it in a positive way.”
The Emmafarm Torah is formally dedicated in honor of Silberman’s mother, Marianne, and in memory of his father, Herbert, a Holocaust survivor. Somehow, in a sleepaway camp on the pastoral outskirts of western Pennsylvania, it embodies everything that is both Jewish and American.

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Around The Town: WWI memorabilia

Around The Town: WWI memorabilia

Posted on 18 August 2016 by admin

Raiz, shown in the bottom right corner of the roster, was part of A Company in the 360th Infantry.

Raiz, shown in the bottom right corner of the roster, was part of A Company in the 360th Infantry.

By Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

I am thinking of my mom today, Rene Wisch of blessed memory. Today would have been her 94th birthday.
As most of you know, mom was plugged in to the Fort Worth Jewish community like no other. She thrived on sharing your news with the community at large. I’d like to do the same! So send your news to me at sharon@tjpnews.com. I’d love to hear from you.

WWI memorabilia

As part of its effort to collect memorabilia and stories of Jews who fought in World War I, Naomi Rosenfield has submitted the following Treasured Traditions item:
The only Jewish soldier from Fort Worth killed in action during World War I was a 27-year-old doughboy who had immigrated to America 10 years earlier, leaving his parents and brother behind in Russia. The soldier’s name was Pvt. Samuel Elly Raiz, and he lived with his Uncle Morris Ginsburg and Aunt Mollie Grobiscjz Ginsburg at their home at 1216 Broadway Ave.
His uncle was part of the large, extended family of Ginsburgs who operated Missouri Iron & Metal Industries, a pipe-and-supply company. At the time Sam registered for the draft — a requirement a century ago — he had not heard from his parents or brother since August 1914, when the war erupted in Europe. Therefore, when Sam was missing in action, a telegram notifying family of his death was delivered to his aunt and uncle, his closest known relatives.

The World War I death certificate for Pvt. Samuel Elly Raiz, who was from Fort Worth

The World War I death certificate for Pvt. Samuel Elly Raiz, who was from Fort Worth

Imagine being a young immigrant, becoming an American citizen, then being drafted into the Army, and training at Camp Bowie. (Yes, there really was a Camp Bowie, a World War I-era base that trained recruits from Texas and Oklahoma.) Sam was part of the 360th Infantry, 90th Division. He made the ultimate sacrifice during the bloody battle of St. Mihiel in France, perishing Sept. 19, 1918. Because his remains were never identified, his name is etched in marble alongside 483 other soldiers missing in action on that battlefield.
Pvt. Samuel Raiz’ story is one of many. As a matter of fact, the Jewish Welfare Boa

rd, created in 1917 to meet the needs of Jewish soldiers, sent 16,000 surveys to Jewish soldiers. Perhaps you have a relative who fought in World War I whom you’d like to research. Join the Fort Worth Jewish Archives as it creates displays commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War.
To volunteer, contact Hollace Weiner at hollaceava@gmail.com.

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300 gather to learn about Israel’s issues

300 gather to learn about Israel’s issues

Posted on 18 August 2016 by admin

Photo: Sharon Wisch-Ray Both sessions of the Israel Symposium BDS panel discussion were packed at Temple Shalom Aug. 7.

Photo: Sharon Wisch-Ray
Both sessions of the Israel Symposium BDS panel discussion were packed at Temple Shalom Aug. 7.

By Shalle’ McDonald
JNS.org

Several of the country’s most prominent pro-Israel groups participated in the first Israel Today Symposium designed to educate the Dallas community on understanding the complex issues Israel faces.
The event, organized by Temple Shalom, drew more than 300 people to hear speakers including Lillian Pinkus, president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC); Charles Pulman, founder of Why Israel Matters; and Daniel Agrano

v, deputy consul general of Israel to the Southwestern U.S.
Pulman, one of two keynote speakers, opened the day with the topic “We are Israel, A time of Pride and Resolve.” He explained that his journey of support for Israel started in his first days of religious school at age 5 and has grown into a lifelong passion. Today, the Dallas attorney travels across the country advocating for Israel and visits Jewish communities around the world.
He asked the audience to think about a very personal question: their own obligation to ensure that Israel and the Jewish people survive in perpetuity.
Lillian Pinkus, AIPAC national president, delivered the lunchtime keynote. Always an impassioned speaker, the daughter of Holocaust survivors told the audience that it wasn’t enough to be educated, that the next step is action.
Throughout the day, more than a dozen topics were discussed by experts including the Arab-Israeli conflict; business development in Israel; missile defense systems in Israel; Israeli technology; Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) legislation; and Christian outreach for Israel advocacy.
The BDS panel drew very many participants, who heard from Max Chamovitz, deputy director of Israel Action Network; Republican Texas Representative Phil King; and Lauren Feibelman, national associate director of campus affairs for StandWithUs, among others.
“The BDS panel’s explanation of what they are doing, particularly on (college) campuses, was thought-provoking,” Pamela Buckroyd told JNS.org. “They mentioned that one of the challenges is that different pro-Israel organizations on campuses are not united in their approach.
“Personally, I think another challenge is simplifying and clarifying the message. People (who are pro-Palestinian, pro-Black Lives Matter and pro-LGBT) do not realize they are boycotting businesses that employ Palestinians, Black (Ethiopian) Israelis, and LGBT Israelis,” she said.
Texas Rep. King, who spoke on the BDS panel, focused on some of the challenges Texas faces in passing anti-BDS legislation. He plans to introduce an anti-BDS bill in January, similar to what 11 other states have already passed (see box).
Ken Glaser, chair of the synagogue’s Israel Connection Committee, which organized the Aug. 7 event, told JNS.org why creating the symposium was important. He is also a founder of Temple Shalom, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Other members of the symposium committee from Temple Shalom were Anita Weinstein Warner, Ken Parker, David and Ruth Gordon, Perry Zidow, Steve Weintraub, and Marc and Laurel Fisher, as well as countless volunteers.
“We actually had a mini-version of this limited to just the congregation a couple of years ago,” Glaser said. As a member of AIPAC, he found it helpful to model a larger version of the event after AIPAC programs that seek to empower people in their advocacy of Israel.
“I wanted to bring something like this to Dallas because not everybody can afford or has the time to go to AIPAC.”
Various organizations that typically attend national conferences on Israel advocacy sent representatives from the local area to set up booths, signifying that these groups consider the Dallas/Fort Worth community an important region to focus on. Some of the groups included the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and the Bnai Zion Foundation.
Glaser said that he hoped to reach the wider non-Jewish Dallas community by offering topics with a “broad perspective of raising awareness of Israel.”
Joann and Olin Bond, a Christian couple who have visited Israel countless times and advocate for the Jewish state, attended the symposium to learn more about these topics so they can be better prepared to discuss them in their community.
“It is always wonderful to see Jews and non-Jews meeting together to find mutual ways to support Israel’s right to exist in the land,” Joann Bond told JNS.org. “I especially enjoyed the Ethiopian Aliyah session and my husband particularly enjoyed the session on desalinization.”
For Joseph Green-Bishop, this event was an opportunity to learn more about Israel, its history and its people. “It is important that all members of the human family respect and grow to love one (another), the symposium was consistent with that desire,” Bishop told JNS.org.
Green-Bishop co-chairs North Texas BLEWS with Ken Glaser, a North Texas-based group “dedicated to the advancement of the relationship between the Black American and Jewish communities through dialogue that leads to actions that enhance the entire society,” he said.
Glaser was pleased that people that he collaborates with outside of Temple Shalom also participated. “It’s working,” he said. “Bringing this to the community is really what this is all about.”
TJP Editor Sharon Wisch-Ray contributed to this report.

*****

Did you know?

You can purchase an Israel bond for a charitable organization or institution. The program is called the Double Mitzvah Program.
Purchase an Israel bond for the organization, synagogue, foundation or other charitable cause you choose to support by contacting Garry Kahalnik at 972-338-2642 or garry.kahalnik@israelbonds.com.
The recipient of your Israel bond will receive interest on the bond, plus principal upon maturity.
The value of the donated Israel bond may be tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Contact your tax adviser for details.

 

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Supporting Israel

Texas State Representative for the 61st District Phil King described his proposed bill in a nutshell: “The State of Texas will not do business with any company that is boycotting Israel.”
Because Texas has such a strong attitude toward free markets, King explained it will be a tough bill to pass, but it already has bipartisan support as well as the backing of Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.

What you can do

Rep. King explained that the best thing you can do between now and January is contact your state representative and state senator and have your friends do the same and let them know it’s important to you.
“When I get 10 or 15 contacts saying ‘Hey, this issue is important to me,’ it’s on my radar and I’m monitoring it and having my staff monitor it all the way through,” King said.

 

 

 

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4 Questions with Lauren Feibelman, national associate director of campus affairs for StandWithUs

Lauren Feibelman answered a few questions for the TJP:

1. We are college hunting. What’s the most important thing to consider when viewing a school’s policy toward Israel?
Most important is to find a college that they love and that fits their wish list. Whatever they are looking for, nothing should stop your child from attending their dream school.
One of the best ways to discover the school’s policy toward Israel is to connect with on-campus Jewish and pro-Israel organizations. These groups are regularly putting out Israel educational programming and events and are on the front lines when necessary to defend Israel. We have to be careful not to keep our children away from hot campuses because if we do, there will be no Jewish students left to stand up to the lies and misinformation being put out by anti-Israel groups on campus.
2. My child is off to college this month. I feel like we are late to the party in Israel preparation. What can we do quickly to help arm her with important facts about Israel?
First, you are not alone. Many parents realize late in the game that they have not done enough to prepare their children for what they may face in college concerning Israel. To prevent this, share educational material about Israel (SWU has many flyers and brochures about a myriad topics on its website); answer the tough questions including the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.
Encourage them to get involved with the Israel/Jewish community on campus. SWU can help your children connect with key leaders and staff on campus.
3. What’s the best way to help my high schooler understand the importance of standing for Israel?
The best way to ensure your child understands the importance of standing with Israel is to ensure they know their own narrative. Of course the best way to allow them to connect with Israel is through a trip there where they can see it with their own eyes.
SWU’s High School Internship provides students with the training and the support necessary to lead Israel programming at their school and in their community and prepares them for the challenges they may face in college.
4. How can StandWithUs help here in Dallas-Fort Worth?
SWU recently opened a Dallas office staffed by Jesse Stock, the organization’s Southern Regional High School program coordinator. Stock is the primary contact for StandWithUs throughout the South and can be reached at jesses@standwithus.com or 818-877-9011.

 

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Olympic roundup: Gymnast, swimmer claim gold; Israel dominant in judo

Olympic roundup: Gymnast, swimmer claim gold; Israel dominant in judo

Posted on 18 August 2016 by admin

From JTA

Aly Raisman wins third medal at Rio Olympics

RIO DE JANEIRO  — American Jewish gymnast Aly Raisman won her third medal of the Rio Olympics on Tuesday — a silver in the floor exercise.
Raisman, 22, of Needham, Massachusetts, was beaten out for the gold by U.S. teammate Simone Biles, who claimed her fourth gold medal here. Biles finished with a score of 15.966 to Raisman’s 15.500.

SAN JOSE, CA - JULY 10:  Alexandra Raisman competes in the floor exercise during Day 2 of the 2016 U.S. Women's Gymnastics Olympic Trials at SAP Center on July 10, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

SAN JOSE, CA – JULY 10: Alexandra Raisman competes in the floor exercise during Day 2 of the 2016 U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Olympic Trials at SAP Center on July 10, 2016 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Biles, 19, had also won in the individual all-around with Raisman finishing second. They combined to help the United States win the women’s team all-around.
Raisman now has six Olympics medals in total; she also won three at the 2012 games in London.
With the floor exercise closing the artistic gymnastics portion of the Rio Olympics, the U.S. women’s gym

nastics team finished with nine medals, well beyond any other country.

In the team competition, Raisman helped the United States finish with a total of 184.897 points to easily outdistance silver medalist Russia, which had 176.688 points. China took the bronze.
It was the second consecutive Olympic team gold for Raisman and the U.S., whose team members nicknamed themselves the “Final Five.” Rio is the last Olympics to have five-member gymnastics teams. Starting in 2020 in Tokyo, each team will have four members.
After the final score was announced Tuesday, the U.S. women huddled together and cheered, led by Raisman, “We are the Final Five!”
Raisman, at 22 the veteran of the group, is nicknamed “Grandma” by teammates Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian. Biles had the top score in the all-around qualifier with Raisman second.
Also late Tuesday, U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky won Olympic gold in the 200-meter freestyle. Ledecky has a Jewish paternal grandmother and lost family members in the Holocaust.

 

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Rio pays tribute to 11 Israeli victims of ’72 Munich Olympic massacre

Under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee, Brazilian senior officials joined sports activists from Israel and elsewhere at a commemoration of the 11 Israeli victims of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.
The Israeli and Brazilian Olympic committees and members of the local Jewish community attended the event Sunday evening at Rio City Hall.
“What happened in 1972 was one of the most lamentable episodes in the history of the Olympic Games, when  fanaticism and intolerance [converged in a] deplorable act of terrorism,” Brazil’s foreign minister, Jose Serra, said on behalf of President Michel Temer. “I believe the IOC, in all these years, hadn’t held the homage it deserved.”
Israel’s most senior representative to the games, Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, said terrorism “does not differentiate [between] people” and reaches everyone.
“When we fight against terror, we look for peace. We still see discrimination against the Israeli athletes,” she said. “There are countries that deny visas to competitors. We know that mixing sports and politics is against the IOC protocol and contrary to the Olympic spirit. Sport must bring people together.”
Unlike previous Olympic commemorations dealing with the 1972 massacre, Sunday’s event was entirely devoted to the murdered Israelis. A previous homage was held Aug. 4 at a memorial site in the Olympic Village, where not only the Israelis were honored but also four others who were killed during Olympic Games.
Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, the widows of fencing coach Andre Spitzer and weightlifter Yossef Romano, were among those who lit 11 candles at the event.
Israel’s honorary consul in Rio, Osias Wurman, told JTA: “The mayor opened the doors of his house in a gesture of great friendship with the Brazilian Jewish community and the whole people of Israel. It’s a unique moment for us Brazilian Jews.”
Among the ceremony’s participants was Ori Sasson, the Israeli judoka who gave Israel its second medal in Rio — bronze in the men’s judo over 220 pounds competition. His Egyptian opponent during the competition who refused to greet him after being defeated was much criticized.
Approached by guests and journalists for a comment, Sasson avoided answering questions about conflict in the Middle East.
“It was not the first time this happened between a judo athlete competing against Muslims,” he said, “but I am only an athlete, I’m not a politician.”

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Israel’s judo Olympic medalists return home to hero’s welcome

Hundreds of fans showed up at Ben Gurion Airport to welcome home Israel’s Olympic medal-winning judokas.
Entering the arrivals hall at the airport near Tel Aviv Monday night, Yarden Gerbi and Or Sasson were showered with flowers. Supporters waved flags, sang patriotic songs, and held up pictures and posters of the athletes.
“I didn’t expect so much craziness,” Gerbi said, according to the Israeli news site Ynet, which reported that nearly 1,000 people packed the airport.
Gerbi and Sasson both won bronze medals in judo at the Rio Olympics. The medals — which bring Israel’s all-time total to nine, five of them in judo — were a bright spot among disappointing performances and controversy for Israel in Rio.
Gerbi and Sasson have become instant national heroes and helped establish judo as Israel’s unofficial national sport. They were celebrated last week with headlines in the Israeli press and congratulatory phone calls from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
After beating Egypt’s Islam El Shehaby, who refused to shake his hand afterward, Sasson won two more matches before narrowly losing to undefeated French legend Teddy Riner. He then prevailed over Alex Mendoza of Cuba to earn the bronze in the men’s over 100-kilogram category.
Gerbi defeated Miku Tashiru of Japan in the women’s under 63-kilogram category on Aug. 9 to claim her place on the Olympic podium.
After refusing to shake Sasson’s hand, Shehaby was sent home and “strongly condemned’ by the Egyptian Olympic Committee, according to the International Olympic Committee. The IOC said the Egyptian’s behavior “was contrary to the rules of fair play and against the spirit of friendship embodied in the Olympic values.”

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Jewish swimmer Anthony Ervin becomes oldest individual swimming gold medalist

Jewish swimmer Anthony Ervin became the oldest Olympic gold medalist in an individual swimming event, at 35 capping a comeback from burnout and drug use in the aftermath of his gold medal at 19.
Ervin edged France’s Florent Manaudou by one one-hundredth of a second in the men’s 50-meter freestyle race Friday night in Rio.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 02:  Anthony Ervin of the USA pepares to compete in the Swimming Men's Freestyle 50m Semifinal heat 2 on day fourteen of the 15th FINA World Championships at Palau Sant Jordi on August 2, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

BARCELONA, SPAIN – AUGUST 02: Anthony Ervin of the USA pepares to compete in the Swimming Men’s Freestyle 50m Semifinal heat 2 on day fourteen of the 15th FINA World Championships at Palau Sant Jordi on August 2, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The son of a Jewish mother and a father with black and Native American roots, Ervin won his first Olympic gold medal in the same event in 2000.
“When I touched the wall, I saw a 1. Kind of the absurdity, the surrealness of it all,” Ervin said, according to USA Today. “I smiled and laughed. It just seems so unlikely.”
Ervin, of suburban Los Angeles, won a second gold medal earlier in the week in the men’s 4×100-meter relay.
He had quit swimming in 2003 and, as he details in a memoir published in April (“Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian”), spent his 20s experimenting with drugs, playing guitar and teaching the sport in Brooklyn, New York.

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Israel’s second medal in Rio comes again from judo

Ori Sasson of Israel won a bronze medal in the men’s judo over-100 kg. competition.
Sasson gave the Israeli delegation its second medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, both bronze in judo, with his victory over Alex Garcia Mendoza of Cuba last Friday night.
It is the first time Israel has claimed two Olympic medals since 2004.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Sasson by phone on Saturday night from Jerusalem in a call that was aired live on Israel’s Channel 2.
“Every boy and girl saw not only a great athlete but a man with values,” Netanyahu said. “You showed the true face of Israel, its beautiful face.”
In the semifinals, Sasson was beaten by seven-time world champion Teddy Reiner of France, who went on to take the gold medal.
On Aug. 11, Sasson defeated Egypt’s Islam El Shehaby, who refused to shake the Israeli’s outstretched hand and walked away to boos from the crowd. The slight underscored the neighboring countries’ strained relations 37 years after signing a peace agreement.
Two days earlier, Yarden Gerbi won Israel’s first medal in Rio, a bronze in the women’s 63-kg judo competition. It was the first Olympic medal for Israel since 2008 in Beijing.

 

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Nate Ebner, US men’s rugby team eliminated from Olympic medal contention

Nate Ebner, the Jewish NFL player competing for the U.S. Olympic men’s rugby team, came up his short in his bid to help the Olympic squad advance beyond the pool stage in Rio de Janeiro.
With a minute to go in a match against favored Fiji on Wednesday, Ebner ran nearly half the length of the field to score a try — analogous to a touchdown in football. The U.S. needed to lose by four points or less to advance and was down by five.
But teammate Maddison Hughes missed the following conversion kick that would have cut Fiji’s lead to three and the game finished seconds later.

CHULA VISTA, CA - JULY 21:  Nate Ebner of the USA Rugby Mens Sevens Team poses for a portrait at the Olympic Training Center on July 21, 2016 in Chula Vista, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

CHULA VISTA, CA – JULY 21: Nate Ebner of the USA Rugby Mens Sevens Team poses for a portrait at the Olympic Training Center on July 21, 2016 in Chula Vista, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The Americans can finish ninth in Olympic competition with a victory over Spain on Thursday.
Ebner, whose father was the Sunday school principal of Temple Sholom in Springfield, Ohio, is a safety and special teams standout for the NFL’s New England Patriots. Rugby was his first sport, and he joined the U.S. national team at age 17, but he switched to playing football while attending Ohio State University.
He will soon head to training camp to prepare for the football season, but he thought the Olympic tournament was a good advertisement for a sport rarely watched in the United States.
“It’s been awesome. I wouldn’t have done anything differently,” Ebner told The Associated Press. “I can only imagine people who haven’t seen [rugby], it’s got to be exciting to watch.”
The U.S. team’s other Jewish player, Zack Test, also played Wednesday, for three of the game’s 14 minutes.

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Lone Star academy won’t open in 2016

Posted on 18 August 2016 by admin

Facility squared away; enrollment issue led to postponement

By Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Staff members, teachers and students who planned to work at and attend the Hebrew language charter school Lone Star Language Academy found out Aug. 5 the school would not be opening this year.
The staff members were called into a meeting where they were informed of the postponement news. Families received a letter penned by CEO and President Shimon Goodman.
The school provided the TJP with the letter, which noted that while the academy found a “secure, safe and developmentally appropriate facility,” it was not able to enroll enough students.
“These delays impacted our ability to recruit and enroll students and have ultimately led us to the decision to postpone the opening of the school year from this upcoming Aug. 22, 2016, to next August 2017,” the letter read.
Goodman did not respond to the TJP’s request for comment by press time.
While Superintendent Nammie Ichilov deferred comment to the Goodman letter, he did express his disappointment that the charter school did not come to fruition this year. “Our intention from the get-go was to meet the (Texas Education Agency’s) timeline in order to open up with the projected number of students. However, due to a number of challenges beyond the school’s control — the No. 1 being securing a facility in time to do a full recruitment — we had less than the number we needed to move forward.”
With the Democracy Drive facility set, the school plans to recruit for a full year and open next fall.
“Many have told us they are excited about next year,” said Ichilov, who moved to the Dallas area last month.
About 11 teachers, many well-known to the Jewish community, are now looking for jobs.
“We had an amazing staff ready to go,” said Ichilov. “We fully expect to have the same or equally impressive professionals for next year.”
To inquire about the school visit LSLacademy.org, call 972-696-9461 or email info@LSLacademy.org.

 

Letter sent to parents

“Dear Lone Star Language Academy Families,
“Almost a year ago we shared joy at learning that the Lone Star Language Academy, our labor of the last several years, was authorized to open a charter school in Plano. This began a journey that we have traveled together in these last several months to find a suitable location for the school and a diligent search for a distinguished educator to lead our efforts. We were successful on both of these efforts.
“Our location at Democracy Drive meets our needs well and Mr. Nammie Ichilov has turned out to be the gifted educator that we were seeking. It is with deep regret, however, to share with you that we have not been successful in our last important effort, the enrollment of students. While we finalized a secure, safe, and developmentally appropriate facility, we were not able to do so early enough so as to have an effective recruitment season. This success followed several other unsuccessful efforts to find a location for our school. These delays impacted our ability to recruit and enroll students and have ultimately led us to the decision to postpone the opening of the school year from this upcoming Aug. 22, 2016, to next August 2017.
“Although our hope was that we could still secure the necessary enrollments prior to the opening of school to continue to move forward, we concluded at our board meeting that it was best to regroup and open school in the following year. Our decision was based on our commitment to provide your children with the best educational experience possible. We will not waver or compromise in our commitment to you and your child.
“The community has demonstrated great interest in a Hebrew language academy and we are grateful and appreciative of your support. Given the additional time that we will now have to fine tune our program, recruit staff and complete renovations, we are going to launch a comprehensive recruitment campaign starting in the next several weeks for the coming 2017-2018 academic year.
“We are fortunate to have a great staff of dedicated and professional people, and are heartened by their commitment and support of our mission and vision and joining our team. Our hope is to reengage you, our committed families, our incredible staff and faculty, and the broader supportive community, as we focus our objective with the infrastructure built over these last few months.
“We know that this decision will impact you in various ways. Please feel free to contact me and Mr. Ichilov and other school staff if we can somehow assist you in transitioning to an alternative program.”

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Shabbat of Comforting gives us faith, strength

Posted on 18 August 2016 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
This coming Shabbat is the ”Shabbat of Comforting” after the previous Shabbat of dire prophecy of destruction and the Ninth of Av mourning over the destruction of the Temple and exile of the Jews. How is it possible to be comforted so soon after the destruction?
Lori B.
Dear Lori,
This coming Shabbat that you refer to as the Shabbat of Comforting is referred to in Hebrew as “Shabbat Nachamu,” based upon the first verse of the Haftarah from the Book of Isaiah chanted this Shabbat, “Nachamu nachamu ami yomar E-lo-heichem.” This is usually translated as, “Be comforted, be comforted my people, says your God” (Isaiah 40:1). Although much of Isaiah is prophesying the destruction of the Jewish people and their exile, from this chapter onward his prophecy shifts to that of consolation.
The thoughtful question you pose could be asked of every house of mourning, when we customarily bless the mourner upon our exit with the traditional blessing of “HaMakom yenachem eschem b’soch shaar aveilei Tzion v’Yerushalayim,” “May the Omnipresent console you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.” How could we hope to really comfort the mourner so close to the painful loss of a beloved one? Furthermore, why do we connect their loss and hopes of comfort to the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem? Who are those “other” mourners?
It seems that the words of consolation of Isaiah and the words with which we bless present-day mourners are bound together, just as the present state of mourning over a loved one is tied to the communal mourning over our national destruction and exile.
The word “nachamu,” with the root “nacheim,” does not literally mean to comfort or console, as it is commonly translated. The true meaning of the word is to view the sad occurrence through another lens, to be able to see the positive in something so sad. It means a paradigm shift. After that comes the comfort and consolation.
The Talmud relates the famous story of Rabbi Akiva and his colleagues who were walking together upon Mount Scopus, which overlooks the Temple Mount, subsequent to the destruction of the Temple. They observed a fox emerging from the area that was once the Holy of Holies in the Temple. This caused the colleagues to burst out in tears, and Rabbi Akiva laughed. They, shocked, asked him why he was laughing; he retorted, why were they crying? The rabbis explained, incredulously, that this holy place that no man, besides the High Priest on Yom Kippur, could ever enter and now a fox prances about; how could they not cry, but why was he laughing with joy? Rabbi Akiva went on to explain there are two prophecies, one foreseeing that Mount Zion would be plowed over like a field; the second, that elderly men and women will yet sit happily in the streets of Jerusalem. Until he witnessed the fulfillment of the first prophecy he did not know if the second one would ever be fulfilled. Now that he saw a fox emerge from the Holy of Holies, now that the place had indeed been plowed like a field, he now was sure the second, happy prophecy would be fulfilled as well.
The colleagues exclaimed, upon hearing this explanation: “Nichamtanu Akiva nichamtanu,” Rabbi Akiva, you have truly given us a different lens to witness the very same event; you have enabled us a paradigm shift in what was previously seen by us as nothing but a calamity. Now we see it, in addition, as a precursor to better times.
Rabbi Akiva taught them and us a lesson for all time, a teaching that keeps the Jewish people going in the most difficult of times. Even in the face of the worst hatred and anti-Semitism we are able to see the Hand of God, the silver lining in the cloud, giving us faith and strength to go forward. This is the blessing we, the Jews who live this lesson, bless the mourners, that they too should see the good in their situation and have the strength to go on. It’s all part of the big picture of the total Jewish experience.

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Dallas Doings: Honors for CD Wealth Management, seminar, other notes

Posted on 18 August 2016 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

CD Wealth Management founders are in the news

Scott Cohen and Andy Dropkin, principals and founders of CD Wealth Management, have come in for recent honors.
Scott Cohen has been named as a recipient of the 2016 Five Star Wealth Manager award in conjunction with Texas Monthly magazine. With a mission to identify and promote professional excellence, the award program has been recognizing outstanding wealth managers for more than 11 years. Five Star Professional conducts market research to identify excellent service professionals in over 45 markets across the U.S.
To receive the Five Star Wealth Manager award, a wealth manager must satisfy 10 objective eligibility and evaluation criteria that are associated with wealth managers who provide quality services to their clients. Factors taken into account include assets under management and client retention rates. Candidates also undergo a thorough regulatory and complaint review.
Cohen, who holds a BBA in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, is a Certified Financial Planner and a Certified Fund Specialist and also holds certification in Chartered Advisory in Philanthropy. As principal and founder of CD Wealth Management, Cohen specializes in financial consulting for individuals, not-for-profit, and privately held companies, with an emphasis on asset management, estate planning and retirement planning. Working in the financial planning industry for 23 years, Cohen leads CD Wealth Management with the belief that the interest of his clients always comes first. With an innate ability to clue into clients’ wants, needs, and goals, Cohen is a passionate advocate for each client as he develops a strategy dependent on his/her unique situation.
“I am honored to once again be recognized by Texas Monthly and Five Star Professional,” said Cohen, who has previously been honored in 2012, 2013, and 2014. “CD Wealth Management focuses on servicing our clients on a daily basis and making sure they know we are always there for them. This recognition reminds us that our personal approach and close client relationships are the backbone of our company.”
Cohen serves as immediate past chairman of the board of the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center as well as vice chairman of the board of The da Vinci School. He is a dedicated volunteer, firmly believing in giving back to the community and helping others. Cohen will be featured in the August issue of Texas Monthly.
Andy has been named chair of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation Investment Committee as well as being elected chair of the JCC Finance Committee. Dropkin’s dedication to his community is evident in the time he spends helping others.
“I enjoy giving back to the community,” Dropkin said. “It’s important to me to help out and continue on the Jewish legacy. I feel fortunate to be able to use my knowledge, time and experience with those institutions that make our community what they are.”
As a principal at CD Wealth Management, Dropkin believes that trust, communication and superior customer service are the foundation of a successful wealth services firm. He specializes in financial planning and wealth management with high-net-worth individuals as well as focusing on fixed income and alternative investment opportunities.

DJCF Annual Professional Advisors Seminar set for Sept. 16

Dallas Jewish Community Foundation Professional Advisors Seminar presents, “Maneuvering among the Mazes & Minefields of Modern Estate Planning: Helping Our Clients Plan in a High Exemption World” by Mickey R. Davis and Melissa J. Willms at 8 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16 at the Westin Galleria. Mickey and Melissa are partners in real life and in the firm of Davis & Willms, PLLC in Houston, which focuses its practice on assisting clients with estate planning, probate, estate and trust administration, and related legal areas, including business planning and tax law. Both are highly sought out speakers and this is one of the first times in Dallas that they are presenting together.
This annual seminar, now in its 21st year, has become well-known for not only assembling a crowd of top professionals in the estate planning industry but also for sharing new information about emerging techniques in areas of charitable and planned giving and estate and tax planning. It also provides an invaluable networking opportunity for advisors who cater to high-net-worth clients and leaders in the nonprofit world. Meadows, Collier, Reed, Cousins, Crouch & Ungerman, L.L.P. is the Primary Underwriter. Platinum Sponsors are BlackRock, Thompson & Knight-Attorneys and Counselors, and Tolleson Wealth Management.
Attendees will be provided a lavish breakfast, and receive two hours of continuing education credits (CLE, CLU, CFP, CPE and CTFA pending). Registration is available online at www.djcf.org and is $80 by Sept. 2, $95 after.

News and notes:

Longtime Jewish educator Ruth Schor has opened Or Chadash, a religious school for unaffiliated families. Or Chadash’s method will focus on gamification, the idea of applying gaming mechanics to non-game situations. Or Chadash is open to all children with a focus on individual needs, feelings and learning style. Three different two-hour Sunday sessions are available as well as private weekday classes. According to Ruth, “When individual needs are being addressed and cared for, a welcoming and inclusive community is created.” Additional staff members are Dr. Mark Schor and Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor. For more information, contact Ruth at 214-916-1989 or ruthieschor@gmail.com.
JET Texas will begin its Family First Sunday School. The family style Sunday school will have an innovative curriculum and Hebrew Reading Program. For more information, contact chani.rodin@gmail.com.

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Prayer is good method for Divine connection

Posted on 11 August 2016 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
I have observed the fast of Tisha B’Av for a number of years since becoming observant, and attempted to mourn the loss of the Temple in Jerusalem. It’s coming up again fast, this coming Saturday night and Sunday; and I’m left with a problem and don’t know if I have the time for a solution.
I understand the lack of a Temple and the Divine presence that was there, with its worship of offerings, which brought us much closer to God than we can get to today. But I always feel like… now what? What can we do, even in some small way, in the here and now to be connected to that Temple?
I feel like, if I had some way to be connected, then I could more vividly feel the loss of that which I’m connected to. But, without that, it’s really hard to relate to a building that existed so long ago…do you understand where I’m coming from?
Thanks,
Melissa L.

Dear Melissa,
I totally understand where you’re coming from, and believe me, you’re far from the only one who feels that way!
My recommendation to you is to consider making your focus that which our early sages instruct us is the replacement for the offerings: prayer!
The Talmud says that the three daily prayer services are in place of the daily offerings in the Temple. The morning and afternoon services correspond to the twice a day tamid offerings, brought morning and afternoon, which were considered the main staple of the entire Temple service. Although there was no specific evening offering, the remainders of the daily offering were burnt at night, and serve as the source of the evening service (which was initially not enacted as obligatory). The Talmud explains that the three patriarchs enacted the three services, and the sages later connected them to the daily offerings.
This connection to the offerings is not random; rather, it goes to the essence of what these prayer services are. The mystical sources explain that the Amidah prayer was enacted by one of the most elevated conclaves of men in Jewish history, the Men of the Great Assembly, after the end of the 70 years of Babylonian exile.
This holy group, consisting of 120 sages, among them the last prophets, used their vast knowledge and prophecy to enact the precise words of the prayer which would affect the upper, spiritual worlds in a similar way that the offerings of the Temple would. This was urgently necessary, because, as the Mishnah teaches, the Temple offerings were one of the main foundations of the existence of this world and without them the world would decay into a state of utter chaos. The prayer service, so precisely crafted, would provide a modicum of the Temple service throughout the long period of exile that the Jews were destined to be subjected to, thereby keeping the world intact.
This is the deeper understanding of the Jewish law which states that every Jew who prays the Amidah service merits to have the Shechinah, or Divine Presence, come down and rest before that Jew or Jewess. This is the source of the law that one must not traverse within four cubits (about 6 feet) before another Jew praying that service, as the Shechinah is present within those four cubits!
Like the Temple service, where the Divine Presence rested, so too every Jew who taps into that service by way of the Amidah prayer, merits to bring down that Presence (which can be felt by anyone who truly becomes sensitive to, and in tune with, the more spiritual areas of life).
This explains more profoundly the statement of the Talmud that our synagogues are called a mikdash m’at, or a “bit” of the Temple; we are holding a modicum of the Temple worship there, recreating, “a bit,” its presence.
That sheds light upon a further statement of the Talmud that the synagogues in the Diaspora are destined to be relocated to Israel in messianic times, as they have become a bit of Israel and its holiness even in the places of our exile.
One who truly focuses on and connects to the prayer service can begin to appreciate what it means to be connected to the Shechinah. At that moment will come the profound insight of how much more so would we be able to connect if we truly had a place where the Shechinah is palpably felt by all who enter! How wondrous that must have been; how sad it is that we are missing it. At that point, one can begin to feel the loss, and hence be able to mourn the lack of that place, the Temple.
May we all have an easy and meaningful fast this coming Saturday night and Sunday, and may the day of Tisha B’Av become a day of rejoicing when we will soon together witness the Temple’s rebuilding!

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Jews can relate to black fears of travel

Posted on 11 August 2016 by admin

How many of you were alive and aware when the word “restricted” was often used in reference to Jews? It applied to places like country clubs, to quotas in schools, to non-hiring policies virtually across-the-board in certain professions. Do you remember the euphemism “Jewish engineering” as applied to the college-level study of accounting?
My own father’s first degree and hoped-for career was in architectural engineering, but when he couldn’t get any job in his chosen field, he studied another; that’s how he became the doctor who was widely known among local physicians for spending those few minutes between patients perusing Architectural Digest rather than Medical Economics.
My dad was fortunate that he had the intellectual capacity to transition from one field to such a different another, and I was lucky to grow up in the house that he designed — we moved into it when I was 3 years old. I’ve visited since, and met its current owners — just the third family ever to live there; the place looks as good now as it did at its “birth” in 1937. But I must admit that a level of bitterness permeated my father’s life, and he was forever tinkering with the house (my mother said her life was always lived over a quarter-inch of sawdust!), or being busy helping someone else with some building project.
But in retrospect, our Jewish restrictions pale beside those of American blacks in those even earlier years when intense, demeaning and dangerous segregation ruled their lives. Colson Whitehead’s much anticipated new book, Underground Railroad, will be out next month to remind us all about it. But for now, and a quite different update, try The Negro Motorist Green Book.
Carvell Wallace’s recently published long article, The Negro Motorist Green Book and Black America’s Perpetual Search for a Home, will come as a shock to most of us complacent whites. The author begins by telling how he thought about it in 2007, when a long winter road trip involved his driving across Nebraska in the middle of a blizzard.
Victor H. Greene created this book in 1936, Wallace writes, tongue-in-cheek, because “Black people wanted to enjoy the vast American landscape, but had to take into account inconveniences like being refused service, spat on, or lynched.” Following the lead of Jewish newspapers, which he reports “…had long published comprehensive listings of establishments for readers to avoid…,” Greene’s travel guide named “restaurants, gas stations, museums, hotels, guest homes, grocery stores … that readers would feel safe being black in.”
The Dallas friend who called my attention to this piece is very much white. “The story crossed my Facebook ‘desk’ on the same day as a story about how ‘white’ the gifted and talented program at Booker T. has grown over the years,” she said. Of course she already knew that Booker T. Washington, now Dallas’ most renowned high school, is still in the same building in the same place where it started — as the city’s only high school for blacks. But that new information? “A fact I didn’t know at all,” she said. “I file it mentally under the category of ‘We Thought Racism Was Handled, But…’”
Her sentiment echoes the remark of writer Wallace: “There is an obvious irony in the fact that a country that obsessively congratulates itself on its freedoms … is so unsafe for its own naturally born citizens that a guidebook showing those citizens where they could safely exist within its borders was ever published.” As a black man himself, he comments, “We think about the fear we’ve felt when traveling in unknown parts, even in recent years. We know what it’s like to feel afraid of the sunset. And we know that even now, in 2016, we have no guarantee of safe passage.”
Take a look at feelings that may echo some Jewish memories; read this article: http://bit.ly/2b1RH4v.

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Summer ’16  busy one for AJC Dallas

Summer ’16 busy one for AJC Dallas

Posted on 11 August 2016 by admin

Submitted report

Stephanie Schneidler, dinner host; Joachim Bodenstaff, Adenauer participant; and Barbara Rabin at Shabbat dinner

From July 15 to 17, AJC Dallas hosted a delegation of German leaders through the AJC-Konrad Adenauer Exchange.
For more than 35 years, this program has built bridges of understanding between Germans and Jews.
Following several days of meetings and programs in Washington, D.C., and New York, the 14 participants arrived in Dallas. Highlights of their visit included attending services at Temple Emanu-El; Shabbat dinners hosted by AJC friends and board members; trips to the Bush Library, Sixth Floor Museum and Fort Worth Stockyards; a tour of the Aaron Family JCC; and a panel discussion on the history of Jewish Dallas moderated by Debra Polsky, director of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society, and featuring Kenny Goldberg, Sheryl Fields Bogen and Florence Shapiro.
For nearly 10 years, AJC Dallas’ Jewish/Latino Alliance has brought together the Jewish and Latino communities to network, advocate, and create lasting bonds between leaders. On Sunday, Aug. 7, JLA held a seminar to provide insight and best practices in the areas of coalition building, legislative advocacy and accessing leadership development opportunities in North Texas. Nearly 50 participants attended the sessions. The seminar was graciously hosted by Jackson Walker LLP.
Speakers included Dina Siegel Vann, director of the AJC Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs; Consul General of Mexico Francisco de la Torre; Jorge Baldor, founder of the Latino Center for Leadership Development; and keynote speaker Jorge Ferraez of Latino Leaders Magazine.
On the Thursday evening before the seminar, more than 80 Jewish and Latino leaders attended a networking reception at the Consulate General of Mexico. The evening provided seminar attendees with an opportunity to connect with one another as well as with leaders from the Jewish community.
“These were eye-opening events,” according to JLA Steering Committee member Gustavo Bujanda. “We were at the same time informed and inspired to grow and strengthen our Jewish/Latino Alliance and subsequently magnify our impact across DFW and beyond,” he added.
AJC Dallas will co-sponsor the Aug. 30, 2016, screening of Labyrinth of Lies as part of the 20th Annual Jewish Film Festival of Dallas. This free screening will take place on the campus of UTD, in the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Lecture Hall.
This 2014 film, based on a true story, tells the story of young prosecutor Johann Radmann and his drive to lead his country to come to terms with the legacy of the Holocaust by pursuing justice against former Nazis. RSVP by Friday, Aug. 26, to schwitzerj@ajc.org.
Recently AJC launched its Governors United Against BDS Campaign. Texas Governor Greg Abbott was the first governor to sign on to the AJC statement condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and has been named a co-chair of this important effort along with Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (the second and third signatories). To date, 14 U.S. governors have signed the statement. For a full list, visit http://bit.ly/2bgCmKK.
AJC is also working with Governor Abbott on legislation countering BDS and strengthening Iran sanctions for the 2017 legislative session.
— Submitted by Joel Schwitzer

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