Archive | January, 2018

At 82, Mandell’s ‘second home’ still pool

At 82, Mandell’s ‘second home’ still pool

Posted on 18 January 2018 by admin

Larry Mandell has won 40 swimming medals in the last nine years with records in the 75- to 79-year and 80- to 84-year age brackets.

Larry Mandell has won 40 swimming medals in the last nine years with records in the 75- to 79-year and 80- to 84-year age brackets.

Allen resident still swimming, competing on regular schedule

By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP

When Larry Mandell talks family, cigars and swimming, his face lights up brighter than his collection of swimming medals — and that’s a lot of shiny!
The leap-year “baby” 82-year-old’s triumphs in the pool are still stacking up as he holds five records in the 75-79 age bracket and three in the 80-84 bracket.
“I work out to stay alive and I love being in the pool — I feel great when I swim and it’s that simple,” said Mandell, who lives in Allen and is still competing and training three times a week at the Don Rodenbaugh Natatorium.

Photo: Larry Mandell More important than all the gold medals and records Larry Mandell holds is his family: (back row, left to right) Michelle, David, Robert, Lynne, Larry, and Sheila; (front row) Jason, Tanner, Daniel, Toby, and Tucker Mandell.

Photo: Larry Mandell
More important than all the gold medals and records Larry Mandell holds is his family: (back row, left to right) Michelle, David, Robert, Lynne, Larry, and Sheila; (front row) Jason, Tanner, Daniel, Toby, and Tucker Mandell.

His first memories of his toes in the water are as a 9-year-old at the Jersey Shore. “The water is like a second home — something I can, and hope to, do all my life.”
Born on leap day in 1936, Mandell has sprung through life, every day an “extra,” living to the fullest. With more than 40 medals in the last nine years, his records and gold medals through the Texas Amateur Athletic Foundation (TAAF), in the 75-79 bracket, are for the 50-, 100- and 200-yard freestyle, the 50-yard backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly swim. In the 80-84 range, he’s won three TAAF gold medals in the 50-, 100- and 200-yard freestyle competitions. He’s also won nine gold medals in the Dallas Area Senior Games.
The Newark, New Jersey, native has been married to his beloved Sheila for 54 years, the two introduced by Larry’s cousin, poolside, a clue to his future beloved. They are the parents of David (Michelle), Robert (Lynne), and Leslie, of blessed memory, and the grandparents of Daniel, Jason, Tanner, Toby, and Tucker.
His time in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War provided many unique opportunities, including service on the USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) in the Mediterranean. Among the treasures Mandell produced over the years is a 1966 photo of Israel, shot by an astronaut. A graduate of NYU with a Bachelor of Science in film, television, and radio production, Mandell was a leader at the Army Pictorial Center, producing training films, research and development, and historical films.
In 1970, the Mandell family moved to El Paso, where for 22 years Larry worked at White Sands Missile Range as the chief of visual information. After retiring as a federal employee with the Department of Defense, Larry began a second career as manager of warehouse and repair of Kurland-Salzman Music.
As a member of El Paso’s Congregation Bnai Zion, Larry was president of its Men’s Club and commander of the Jewish War Veterans (JWV) Post No. 749, and commander and first commander of the JWV Department of the Southwest. He was honored with the National Americanism Award by the JWV, an organization he remains a member of through Dallas’ local Post #256. Sheila served on the boards of the congregation’s Sisterhood, B’nai B’rith Women/El Paso, and the Parent Teacher Organization.
Moving to Dallas in 1999 to be closer to their children, Mandell worked for Brook Mays Music, and the couple reunited with many El Paso transplants from their Jewish community. Members of Congregation Anshai Torah since it began, the Mandells relied heavily on the heart and support of Rabbi Stefan Weinberg when their daughter Leslie was critically ill, and after her passing in 1999.
Mandell taught adult swim lessons at the Tom Muehlenbeck Center in West Plano for eight years, something he’d provided to many sailors during his time in the Navy.

Larry Mandell (back row, center) and Ariel (Richard) Larkey (third from right) and their Weequahic High School swim team, the 1952 city champs, remain close friends, despite the thousands of miles between their homes in Texas and Israel.

Larry Mandell (back row, center) and Ariel (Richard) Larkey (third from right) and their Weequahic High School swim team, the 1952 city champs, remain close friends, despite the thousands of miles between their homes in Texas and Israel.

Attributing his good health to his continued participation in the sport, early in his athletic career he was a member of the 1952 City Champion Weequahic High School swim team alongside Arieh (Richard) Larkey, still a dear friend. The two are separated by miles, thousands of them, as Larkey, a former architect and author made aliyah in 1971. However, they remain close.
“I have only the best of memories of us as young swimmers — and cherished friends — and returning to the sport to compete in my 60s, now just for pleasure, I still believe it’s the best sport,” said Larkey, who visited with his high school friend when the Mandells traveled to Israel many years ago. Their friendship extended to another generation as the Mandells’ children traveled to Israel, staying at Larkey’s home. “Now, thanks to FaceTime and the two of us ‘entering’ the 21st century, we’re able to relive the wonderful feelings of a lifetime friendship.”
A healthy man by diet and exercise, he enjoys a little more relaxing — very little — than his one-a-day stogie that he “mostly” chews on.
“Next to my family, my proud moments are when I win. I train hard for fun and for my health,” said Mandell, who in 2000 had two stents placed after a heart attack. “I changed how I eat, how I exercise, and how I live. There’s nothing I take for granted.” He’s planning to race again later this year.
Setting the example high for his family, Mandell’s lessons aren’t lost on those on the lower branches of his family tree. “He’s amazing and I hope I live the way he does,” said grandson Jason. “Most grandfathers have good advice and stories to tell. He lives every day being healthy and strong and following his own advice. He’s something special and I’m proud of him and glad he’s mine.”
Those words? A shinier prize than any other.

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Dallas Doings: Shabbat together, Christmas mitzvah

Dallas Doings: Shabbat together, Christmas mitzvah

Posted on 18 January 2018 by admin

Photo: Steve Krant JWV and JWV Auxiliary volunteers posed beneath the large American flag in the VA’s atrium after a job well done! The JWV Post 256 assembled and delivered more than 200 gift bags to patients at the VA on Christmas Day.

Photo: Steve Krant
JWV and JWV Auxiliary volunteers posed beneath the large American flag in the VA’s atrium after a job well done! The JWV Post 256 assembled and delivered more than 200 gift bags to patients at the VA on Christmas Day.

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Shabbat Together for your Munchkin

Temple Shalom Munchkin Minyan will convene Shabbat Together for the first time this year, at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19. The program always includes singing, dancing, story time and challah.
Saturday morning programs add a delicious child-friendly oneg. For more information contact Jen Arndt and Michelle Falk, Young Family co-chairs, at youngfamilies@templeshalomdallas.org. Additional dates are 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17; 6 p.m. Friday, March 16; 10:20 a.m. Saturday, April 21; and 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 19.
All families with children ages 6 and under are welcome.
— Submitted by Lisa Rothberg

JWV’s Christmas mitzvah

Christmas Day morning found more than 30 members and family of JWV Harvey J. Bloom Post 256 and its Ladies Auxiliary volunteering at the Dallas VA Medical Center.
The group was on a mission to bring cheer to veterans hospitalized during the holidays. Many have little or no family to keep them company on Christmas Day. JWV’s volunteers bring each veteran a gift bag stocked with snacks, wearables, stationery and other useful items — many donated by local merchants. Perhaps most importantly, they bring a smiling face and some conversation to brighten their day.
More than 200 gift bags were distributed to patients, as well as to families at Fisher House — a nearby facility, similar to Ronald McDonald House, offering free temporary lodging to families while their loved ones undergo medical treatment.

 

 

*****

 

Diamonds and Dice

Congregation Anshai Torah recently celebrated and honored Stuart Blaugrund, one of its founding members, a devoted supporter, amazing adviser and good friend.
— Submitted by Deb Silverthorn

 (Left to right) Melanie, Michael Kerner, Stuart Blaugrund, Bari Golin-Blaugrund, Louann Leeds-Pranses and Emily Blaugrund Fox

(Left to right) Melanie, Michael Kerner, Stuart Blaugrund, Bari Golin-Blaugrund, Louann Leeds-Pranses and Emily Blaugrund Fox

(Back row, left to right) Brad Welcher, Debbie Cohn, Gretchen Edwards, Harvey Swento, Amy Gross, Shawn Frank and Cynthia Brooks; (front row) Bethany Last, Kim Velevis, Jennifer Hersh, and Kimberly Mabel

(Back row, left to right) Brad Welcher, Debbie Cohn, Gretchen Edwards, Harvey Swento, Amy Gross, Shawn Frank and Cynthia Brooks; (front row) Bethany Last, Kim Velevis, Jennifer Hersh, and Kimberly Mabel

 

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New year, new you: JFS’ career services offers many resources for job seekers

New year, new you: JFS’ career services offers many resources for job seekers

Posted on 18 January 2018 by admin

Photo by Deb Silverthorn JFS’ Career and Employment Services team (left to right) Phil Konecki, Marina Garcia, Marlene Mickish, Allison Harding and Don Carter, with Mitch Jacobs (not pictured), helps those looking for employment, financial planning assistance, computer skills and much more.

Photo by Deb Silverthorn
JFS’ Career and Employment Services team (left to right) Phil Konecki, Marina Garcia, Marlene Mickish, Allison Harding and Don Carter, with Mitch Jacobs (not pictured), helps those looking for employment, financial planning assistance, computer skills and much more.

Career services department prepares people for new employment

By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP

A new year brings new goals, new challenges, and new hopes, and the Career and Employment Services department of Jewish Family Service may be the key to reaching, beating, making and surpassing all three.

Photo: JFS Volunteer Bradley Rossel and JFS Administrative Services Manager Jennifer Lindsey demonstrate Dell computers in the JFS client computer workroom. The computers were donated by Northpark in 2015 as part of their 50 Years of Giving Campaign. JFS provides computer courses to clients and access to the Internet, among other services.

Photo: JFS
Volunteer Bradley Rossel and JFS Administrative Services Manager Jennifer Lindsey demonstrate Dell computers in the JFS client computer workroom. The computers were donated by Northpark in 2015 as part of their 50 Years of Giving Campaign. JFS provides computer courses to clients and access to the Internet, among other services.

JFS’ career-management specialists provide individualized assistance to identify career options in employment transition focusing on placement, improving job-search effectiveness, achieving career goals and re-employment.
“We start with what the job seeker wants to do, what he or she is good at, rather than what they’ve done because the doors open wider,” said JFS’ Director of Career and Employment Services Allison Harding, working with employment coaches including Don Carter, Mitch Jacobs, Phil Konecki and Marlene Mickish. “We delve intensively into the person’s life to help them find their path.”
The Job Search Resource Center, open Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 5:30 p.m., and Fridays from noon to 4:30 p.m., provides job leads, networking contacts, job-search information, use of phone, computers, fax, copier and access to the Internet. It furnishes employers, at no cost, with candidates’ resumes and job requisition postings.
“Networking, and the how-to, is a key piece to what we do,” said Mickish — now a JFS career counselor, but one who truly understands the process. She was hired after coming in to look for a job, a mutual fit that was clear after working with her counselor. “The program is engaging and an important piece of the practice.”
Getting help from JFS is as easy as registering for an intake meeting and orientation participation to determine what services are needed. The team meets weekly discussing all prospective clients, determining which counselor is best suited to meet the individual’s needs.
“We validate each person to decide if it’s resume support, technology skills updating, career exploration, networking or a combination of those and other services that we can provide,” said Konecki, who leads a 60-hour computer skills program covering the basics of Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint and safely navigating the Internet. “We’ll create expectations to determine what’s realistic in creating a future. We’re all a team.”
JFS’ website provides myriad resources: full and part-time job listings, recommendations and contacts for those with and without higher education degrees, those just out of high school, applicants searching for career changes or later-in-life opportunities, and those needing to upgrade their skills.
“Allison’s team and the support they provide are incredible. I had no idea our community provided these services but I’m glad it does because it’s made a huge difference for me and my family,” said Jay Hamby, whose job was recently downsized. Having worked with one company for 19 years, and another for six, it took Hamby less than three months, meeting with JFS’ professionals every two weeks, to find his position as general manager of the Allen Premium Outlet Mall.
“When we first met, Allison took my resume and let me know prospective employers would look at maybe one-fourth of it. She coached me through reworking the resume, how to handle a phone interview and negotiate for myself, and how critical networking is,” said Hamby. “If I hear of someone looking for work, in a whole new way, I’ll do anything I can to help.”
JFS’ support team, part of the Working Families Success Program, also helps those, employed or not, to prepare for their financial futures through free, private, one-on-one financial coaching services.
“We look at the financial part of the clients’ lives because it’s important to determine a livable baseline, what’s preferred and what’s ideal, also, creating a budget to pay bills through the course,” said Marina Garcia, who leads the financial counseling program. Garcia noted that many job applications now come with a credit check, and that offers to seemingly otherwise qualified candidates have been rescinded. “Once the client finds employment, we continue to help to re-evaluate and reorganize.”
Entrusting JFS with their support, both economic and in referrals, are the Communities Foundation of Texas, the Dallas Women’s Foundation, the Texas WorkForce Commission, the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, and the United Way.
Services are also tailored for disabled/special-needs individuals, providing direct assistance in job-search training, job placement and on-the-job training, and career counseling and long-term support services are also provided for veterans — more than 150 have been helped — and their spouses and family members.
“Part of what we do is working with a more challenging workforce, developing a new path for some who come to us,” said Carter. He noted that JFS often refers its other services including the food pantry, family violence support, counseling, concerns regarding older adults, and others. “If one of us coaches recognizes additional need, we walk down the hall and find help. We are one.”
“When I lost my job I also lost my confidence, my optimism and a lot of myself,” said Brad Golman, a former salesman, whose 50-member department was closed without notice, leaving him without severance, support or an imminent future. “I met Allison and she helped me not just put my resume together, but she helped me build myself ready to go out and get in front of people. That is a very big deal!”
Golman, who for the last two years has worked for Senior Helpers, providing caregiving services for older adults, ended up in that role when he re-evaluated what he enjoyed doing, rather than what his personal job history was.
“The attitude and enthusiasm of everyone at JFS is caring and kind and so helpful,” said Golman, who appreciated the computer center and many other resources. “We looked at what really mattered to me and caring for my parents is something I love doing — and they introduced me to my current employer. The all-around experience was incredible.”
Carter, speaking for all, guarantees the team, like all at JFS, “treats our clients with dignity and respect, opening doors — and hearts.”
That is the best job of all.
For more information or to register for programs or career and employment services, contact Allison Harding at aharding@jfsdallas.org or call 972-437-9950 and visit jfsdallas.org/services/career-employment/. JFS is a partner agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas.

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Confusing passages in Torah: Interpret —and remember

Posted on 18 January 2018 by admin

Parashat Bo contains several strange and confusing passages that require interpretation in order to make sense.
Among them is Exodus 12:11. It explains that the Israelites, who are about to leave Egypt, should eat the Passover offering with their loins girded, their sandals on their feet, their staff in hand, and they should eat it quickly. One might say, well, of course — they were about to leave Egypt and they had to be ready. That’s very reasonable — except for the fact that other passages seem to indicate that the Israelites didn’t leave right away or they didn’t know they would be leaving. For example, they are instructed to burn any leftovers of the Passover offering in the morning (Exodus 12:10).
We’re also told later that they didn’t prepare any provisions so they had only unleavened bread (Exodus 12:39).
So if they didn’t have to dress up and eat it quickly because they were about to leave, why does the Torah create a ritual around eating the Passover offering? And why are they already practicing the ritual even before they have left Egypt? It’s actually amazing to think about — even before the Israelites are free, we are told that we’re going to celebrate the moment that’s about to happen by eating special foods and dressing up a certain way. It not only describes the early ritual of Pesach; the Torah also explains what to say when our children ask why we are doing these strange things (Exodus 12:26-27). That’s a lot of chutzpah!
I don’t know why the Torah was written this way, although I think it speaks quite clearly to the importance of remembrance. It hits us over the head with the message that we are supposed to remember the Exodus from Egypt. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because the Torah reminds us about lots of things. We remember the Exodus on Passover. We remember the Exodus on Shabbat. We remember Shabbat. We are constantly asked to remember that we were slaves in Egypt. We see the fringes on the tallit and we’re supposed to remember the mitzvot/commandments. We joke about how Jewish mothers offer constant reminders of things we’re supposed to do or things that we should have done, but they’re only following after the Torah.
What I love about Judaism is that as important as remembrance is, we don’t just stop and remember. We are instructed to allow that remembrance to guide our actions. From the celebration of Passover to actually stopping and living by a different set of rules on Shabbat — it matters what we do. We’re supposed to remember the mitzvot so we can do them.
We’re supposed to remember that we were slaves in Egypt because that reminder is supposed to have an impact on how we act. Don’t oppress the stranger — care for people as people. Remember that each individual, no matter their background, deserves to be treated with dignity and beauty. Remembering our struggles is supposed to inspire us to extend our hand in compassion, understanding and friendship.
We know what it’s like to be feared and hated. Unfortunately, there’s far too much of that still going around. It’s not like we have to remember back to the Torah to think about how poorly we’ve been treated as a people. All the more reason to live our Judaism. This means that we study and remember and we allow those teachings to guide our actions and better our world.
Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker is the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville.

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Actor ‘one singular sensation’ at Moody

Actor ‘one singular sensation’ at Moody

Posted on 18 January 2018 by admin

By Shari Goldstein Stern
Special to the TJP

“Five-six-seven-eight” and the diverse cast of A Chorus Line (ACL) struts into its magic, where characters will share what’s truly behind their glitz. Each has a compelling story to tell, and each tells it through song and dance, backed by Marvin Hamlisch’s unforgettable, Tony award-winning score.
Uptown Players (UP) will present ACL at the Moody Performance Hall in the Downtown Arts District (formerly Dallas Performance Hall) Feb. 2-4, and the production is true to the original Broadway script.

Dan (front) with his oldest brother, Alan, and his maternal grandmother

Dan (front) with his oldest brother, Alan, and his maternal grandmother

One member of the cast, playing Zach, the director, is Dallasite Dan Servetnick. With credits from a cache of Dallas-area theaters, the triple-threat is currently finishing out a run of Pegasus Theatre’s A Minor Case of Murder, Kurt Kleinmann’s 19th in the Black & White series and 34th production, which will run through Jan. 28 at the Charles W. Eisemann Center.
Concurrently, Dan’s in rehearsal for ACL. This show opens on the bare stage of a grueling audition for a new Broadway musical. Dan plays Zach, the director running the audition, and he says, “The director character really keeps the show moving. He opens it playing one of the dancers and appears on stage a few times during some scenes, and of course in the finale. Meanwhile, the audience hears Zach giving direction from the back of the theater.
Dan is no stranger to Dallas-area theater. He was seen in UP’s Sweeny Todd and It Shoulda Been You, he said, “and (in the latter show) I got to play a part closer to home, a good Jewish father, opposite the wonderful Linda Leonard.” He has also been seen at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas and many others in the Metroplex.
According to the dancer, for people who have never worked in theater, his ACL character, Zach, may come across as tough and heartless at times. He clarifies, “There are those times, during some very emotional moments, that Zach comes onto the stage and shows his empathy and that he actually does care about everyone on the line.
“ACL is the first show I saw on Broadway. It left its mark on me,” Dan said. “My brother, who passed away 30 years ago, was my idol and introduced me to theater with this show. I remember walking up to the Shubert Theatre like it was yesterday. And even more, I remember waiting at the stage door to see the cast exit the theater.”
This was the trajectory launching him into his career in theater.
That almost changed when, in 1980, Dan was diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy (MD). At the time the medical community didn’t know much about that form of the disease. Doctors told him that he would lead an inactive life and that he would be in a wheelchair in five years. “I thought my life was over. But I decided that I wasn’t going down without a fight. I also decided that I would do what I love as long as I could.” He was 19.

Photo: Pegasus Theatre Dan Servetnick is currently playing in A Minor Case of Murder, which runs through Jan. 28 at the Eisemann Center in Richardson.

Photo: Pegasus Theatre
Dan Servetnick is currently playing in A Minor Case of Murder, which runs through Jan. 28 at the Eisemann Center in Richardson.

About 15 years ago Dan had a health issue and got connected with a progressive-thinking physician who couldn’t believe the dancer was still mobile, thanks in part to a strict exercise regimen. The doctor started putting all his MD patients on that exercise program. He saw improvements in every one of them.
Physicians got Dan involved with some doctors from Israel who were doing a study with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “Well, I’m still here and I’m still going strong. Dancing as part of this show is something I never thought I would be able to do,” he said.
Dan added that there are compelling moments in ACL that will resonate with many. “The ‘What I Did for Love’ scene is that way for me. I never did theater for the money. I do it because it brings me so much joy.”
Dan continued that when his parents moved to Philadelphia, it was not long after the Arab revolt in Algeria. Several other family members came to join them in Philadelphia. “I was very young, but I believe we had 15 or more people living in our home at one time.”
The actor first started appreciating the performing arts because his family always had music in their home. “There was a specific Jewish radio program that we would listen to. Both my parents loved to sing.” Dan and his two brothers always lit the Hanukkah menorah as children. Each had his own. “And with three brothers, it made for a beautiful sight,” he recalled. After he played the part of Santa Claus in his elementary school, he said the music never stopped.
His high school had a quality music and theater program. “I sang with the All-Philadelphia Boys’ Choir and Men’s Chorale for several years and attended the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts.”
Today, in addition to his robust theater career, Dan makes time to serve the community. He does work for the Jewish Community Center, teaching voice and shooting video of their shows.
Dan has a daughter and grandchildren who celebrate Christmas, and so the whole family participates in gift-giving.
“Being Jewish isn’t about a religion to me. It is a culture. It instilled beliefs in me that I will carry until the day I die,” he said.
Dan grew up in a heavily Jewish-populated section of Philadelphia.
“When my parents moved to a very new, developing area, my father helped start the synagogue, the Fox Chase Community Center, and we were at services every Friday night and I had my bar mitzvah there.”
Dan shared some more about his family’s history.

Dan’s maternal grandparents from Oran, Algeria donating to their synagogue in Austin, Temple Beth Shalom, a Torah from the Temple in Oran, Algeria. The Temple was one of the largest in the world. When the Arabs revolted, my family left their belongings, but saved the Torahs.

Dan’s maternal grandparents from Oran, Algeria donating to their synagogue in Austin, Temple Beth Shalom, a Torah from the Temple in Oran, Algeria. The Temple was one of the largest in the world. When the Arabs revolted, my family left their belongings, but saved the Torahs.

“My grandparents were from Russia, Poland, Algeria and Philadelphia. My grandfather, Abe Servetnick, was very religious. He lived a few doors down from the synagogue and was there when the doors opened.”
Today, Dan has his hands full with theater, and he says that he couldn’t be happier. A Minor Case of Murder, presented by Pegasus Theatre, will run through Jan. 28 at the Charles Eisemann Center in Richardson. For information, visit pegasustheatre.org.
Performances of A Chorus Line are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 2 and 3, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, at the Moody Performance Hall, 2520 Flora St. in the downtown Arts District. For tickets and more information, visit uptownplayers.org.

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Israel ambassador bullish on UN despite recent events

Posted on 18 January 2018 by admin

Israel Bonds hosts Dannon at meeting

By Aaron Greenberg
Special to the TJP

DALLAS — Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, spoke with optimism about his job when he met with 70 local supporters/investors of Israel Bonds last week.
“We are winning at the U.N.,” Danon said.
It’s a little surprising, considering how the agency has developed a reputation as being anti-Israel. In the past year, Danon said, the U.N. passed 22 resolutions against Israel, compared to one against Iran and one against Syria.
But Danon is looking at the big picture, and sees that there’s been movement in the right direction. Part of it could be his charm offensive. Another part is what Israel offers.
“Many other countries become friends with Israel not because they like us, but because they need us,” Danon said, citing the nation’s technological innovations. “It’s their own interest to work with Israel.”
Much of that optimism and technological success is owed to the strength of Israel Bonds, which have provided the Jewish state with an additional source of income since 1951. More than $1 billion has been raised for each of the past five years. Although not allocated for specific uses, the bonds have helped fund the infrastructure and economy to support the tech industry.
This region has become the epicenter of Israel Bonds outside of New York, according to Ken Goldberg, the national campaign advisory council chairman, who along with his wife Sherry hosted the event at their home.
It’s important to understand that Israel Bonds are not a charity, but an investment. For as little as $36, an investment can be made in Israel through the Development Corporation for Israel. The bonds are issued for two, three, five or 10 years. The Israeli government has never defaulted on payment.
“People think you have to have a lot of money to invest in Israel,” said Larry Olschwanger, the local campaign chair, shaking his head. “It’s not a donation. You get your money back plus interest.”
This area has been very generous. He said 75 people in the Dallas area invested more than $100,000 each last year, accounting for $20 million in sales.
“Dallas has a small group of Jews compared to other cities, but our numbers per capita are great,” he said.
Olschwanger said the area’s support for Israel Bonds have really blossomed over the past few decades under Karen Garfield, the executive director for the Southwest region. The region recently opened an office in Denver.
Ken Goldberg got involved in 1985 after a discussion at an event where his father-in-law was being honored in Omaha. He chatted with the local executive director.
“I said, ‘If you are ever in Dallas, give me a call,’” Goldberg said.
Sure enough, the director was transferred here three months later. Goldberg got involved with New Leadership, then helped coordinate a $10 million campaign in 1990. He still has the gas mask he got from a trip to Israel during the Gulf War. After some time away, he came back at Garfield’s request and became involved as local chair, working his way up.
Other attendees included Jason Schwartz, who is the chair of International New Leadership and a member of the national board, and former local Israel Bonds Chair Charles Pulman.
“It’s a great Jewish community and we have the love of many Christians in Dallas,” Danon said.
He called speaking to Israel Bonds investors a “win-win situation,” inspiring him and allowing him to share victories.
Danon was in town for a few days with his wife, Talie. They were given Texas-themed presents by Sherry Goldberg, including cowboy hats.
Before becoming Israel’s permanent representative to the U.N., Danon served as deputy minister of defense, deputy speaker and minister of science, technology and space. He served in the Knesset from 2009 to 2015.
Now that he’s busy at the U.N., he’s focused on winning new friends for Israel.
“Soft diplomacy is crucial to build relationships,” he said.
Two years ago, Danon took a group of ambassadors to see Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway. In May, he’ll take them out for a celebration of Israel’s 70th birthday to see The Band’s Visit, about an Egyptian band that ends up in the middle of the Negev.
Danon is the chairman of the U.N.’s legal committee, making him the first Israeli to head one of the six major U.N. committees. As he pointed out, there were 44 “no” votes — and 56 majority Muslim nations.
Another sign of success was how the Saudis accepted his nation’s co-sponsorship of one of their resolutions. Usually, they reject Israeli overtones — at least in public.
“Publicly, they will say bad things about Israel, but privately they say they want to learn from Israel,” Danon said of Israel’s critics. “I’m working now to close the gap between the private U.N. and public U.N..”
He has also been unafraid to get attention. When the issue of Jerusalem resurfaced in December, Danon held a replica of a gold coin from the year 67 found in the City of David.
“It shows the connection between Jews and Jerusalem. No U.N. resolution can change this,” he said.
He gave replicas to his fellow ambassadors. (He also brought one to Dallas and gave it to Ken Goldberg.)
Danon pointed out that although they were outnumbered, dozens of countries voted with Israel or abstained, including Mexico, Argentina, Poland and Ukraine. He also noted some actual victories since he’s taken office.
For one thing, Yom Kippur has been named an official U.N. holiday. And when the U.N.’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia labeled Israel an “apartheid state” in a report, the report was not accepted, and the executive secretary of the commission resigned.
“You’ve changed so much of the landscape at the U.N.,” Sherry Goldberg said.
Danon returned the compliment, pointing to the support his country gets from Israel Bonds.
“I learned to appreciate that it’s much more than funding and money,” he said, citing the importance of the partnership. “It’s meaningful. In case of emergency, we have these people.”

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Other benefits to that cruise

Posted on 18 January 2018 by admin

In this new year, I’ve started to think about downsizing. It makes sense for me, especially since I’m now involved with the Conversation Project, which I’ve written about recently; it’s the great new effort — now gone nationwide — to make younger generations comfortable with asking their elders how they would like the ends of their lives to be. This should no longer be a taboo subject, and should make the thought of dying more comfortable and more palatable, if not more pleasant, than it has been in the past.
I’m inspired by my own sister’s recent downsizing from a spacious two-bedroom condo to a studio apartment in a senior residence facility. Her recent heart surgery has actually dictated this move, and she was unhappy about it until this flu epidemic hit. She’s now under quarantine, but very grateful now that she is where she’s taken care of; no need to worry about medication and doctors because they’re on hand, and no need to go shopping or prepare meals since they’re delivered three times a day. (It is taking her a while to get comfortable with the masked strangers who make the deliveries, pick up the trays afterward, and don’t say a word about anything…)
But I digress. A possibility I’ve learned about may be more pleasing than any senior residence, if one can stay well enough to choose it. This is something to consider: moving into a cruise ship cabin! There’s not much that’s smaller, but nothing can provide more overall living comfort. Read on, and even if you don’t find this serious, you’ll enjoy the fanciful logic of our favorite author, Anonymous. I’ve adapted his firsthand proposition here:
While on a Mediterranean cruise, this man noticed an elderly lady sitting in the main dining room alone, but the whole staff seemed to know her. The waiter told him she’d been on board for the ship’s last four cruises, back-to-back. When the man asked her about her recent travels, she said,.”It’s cheaper than a nursing home!”
Investigating at that time, the writer found average nursing home costs of $200 per day, but with long-term and senior discounts, cruise accommodations came in at only $135, and daily gratuities would use up only about $10 of the remaining $65 difference. He was stunned: “I could have as many as 10 restaurant meals a day, and even room service: Imagine! Breakfast in bed, all week long!”
On board: a swimming pool, workout room, free use of washers and dryers, entertainment every night. Free soap, shampoo, toothpaste… No monthly TV bills. Vacuuming and dusting, clean sheets and towels every day — all standard. Bed made by someone else when you leave the cabin, then turned down for you in the evening, maybe even with a candy left on your pillow. Need a light bulb changed? No problem!
So pick your first destination; whatever cruise line you choose should have a ship ready to go there. And after that — sail anywhere and everywhere. Your bonus: meeting new people every week or two.
(My own more recent reading of cruise ship literature shows somewhat higher prices than those quoted by Anonymous, but nursing home costs are up, too. I’ve also learned that those necessary but annoying lifeboat drills are things of the past on most lines. And even if you choose one that still requires a full-non-metal-jacket appearance on deck, you‘ll probably rate a “bye” after your first voyage. because, unless you fall and break a hip — when they’ll probably upgrade you to a suite — you’ve successfully downsized to your new permanent home!)
My daughter will cruise the Caribbean in March, so I’ll get an update afterward on whether the alleged facts above still “hold water,” as it were…But I especially resonate to the idea of meeting brand-new people every few weeks while having those who “serve” you already used to caring for your needs.
If Anonymous is correct, he may be on to something!

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Should all prayers be said in Hebrew?

Posted on 18 January 2018 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
I recently purchased an ArtScroll Siddur, and am enjoying the English translation. I really don’t understand Hebrew, although I can read it. Is the translation just for understanding what the Hebrew means, or can one actually pray in the English? I personally can’t see why not, as I assume God can understand all languages?
Brian L.
Dear Brian,
As you assumed, God understands all languages, and Jewish law permits one to pray in the language they understand (Talmud, Sotah 33a and Shulchan Aruch O”Ch 101:4). However, there are a number of reasons why Hebrew is the preferred language for prayer:
First, Hebrew is unique in that it is called the “holy tongue.” This is because it is pure, and has no swear words, not even any words directly describing intimate relations or any such matters. It is, therefore, the ideal language through which to approach God.
Furthermore, explain the Kabbalists, Hebrew is the language God used to create the universe. It is the language of creation, the language the Torah was given in, the language of the prophets, King David and his psalms. Hebrew carries the soul of the Jewish people, our heritage and destiny. It is ideal to communicate with God in the same language He communicated with us.
Second, the “Men of the Great Assembly,” the sages who penned the words of the established prayers of the Siddur, cloaked untold layers of meaning in the words of the prayers — from the simplest meanings to the most profoundly Kabbalistic. One could spend an entire lifetime studying the Siddur/prayerbook, and still not plumb the most profound depths of its meaning. Vast Kabbalistic works are dedicated to uncovering the concealed meanings within the prayers. Those veiled meanings, which accompany our prayers uttered even with a simple understanding, “hitch a ride” to the highest heavens through the vehicle of the Hebrew verbiage, which contains those meanings. (See Biur Halacha to Shulchan Aruch, loc. cit.)
Third, by praying in the original Hebrew we join the millions of Jews throughout the world and the generations who have uttered the same exact words for thousands of years. These holy words have been uttered throughout both the best and the most trying of circumstances, and are above time and circumstance.
However, the most important part of prayer, as the Torah itself says, is to pray from the heart. If praying in Hebrew will deprive one of feeling and meaning from the heart, it is better to pray in English to get the main point of prayer, the cake itself, than all the above points, which are the icing on the cake. The prayer needs to be an integral part of our love relationship with God — and it’s difficult to maintain a relationship when the partners don’t understand one another!
I have recommended to many beginners to pray mostly in English, but to choose one blessing at a time to study and know its entire meaning in Hebrew. Just say that one blessing, or verse, in Hebrew until you’re totally comfortable with each word. Then go on and do the same with another blessing or verse, such as the Shema. Bit by bit, each small portion will become like building blocks to build your understanding of the Siddur. One day, you’ll wake up and find that you are saying and understanding a large part of the Siddur in the original! Good luck!

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Around the Town: New novel, B’nai B’rith

Around the Town: New novel, B’nai B’rith

Posted on 18 January 2018 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Korenman releases new novel

On Dec. 19, author Adam Korenman released his latest novel, When the Skies Fall, the second book in the Gray Wars Saga. The Fort Worth native began working on the series while a student at Paschal High School back in 2001, chipping away at chapters in his free time until he had the foundation for the story arc.

Adam Korenman has recently released his new novel When the Skies Fall, the second book in the Gray Wars Saga.

Adam Korenman has recently released his new novel When the Skies Fall, the second book in the Gray Wars Saga.

In 2015, he self-published his debut novel, When the Stars Fade, and ran a grassroots campaign through the Kindle Direct Publishing service. The success of WTSF garnered the interest of a local publisher in Los Angeles, California Coldblood Books. Now, Adam is signed on for the full six-book run, available wherever books are sold, including Amazon.
The series focuses on a cast of pilots, soldiers, and politicians all struggling to survive amid an intergalactic war. From the explosive battles in space to the nail-biting confrontations on the ground, the war for survival is brutal and endless. It has received praise from both military service-members and the sci-fi community, and was recently called “a veritable all you can eat buffet laid out for readers who hunger for gritty, realistic military science fiction.”
Adam was a captain in the U.S. Army from 2006 to 2017, serving with units from Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Cali-fornia. He now lives in Los Angeles with his wife.
When the Stars Fade and When the Skies Fall are available now.

B’nai B’rith Christmas tradition

For more than 30 years the B’nai B’rith Isadore Garsek Lodge in Fort Worth has served meals and provided gifts for the homeless on Christmas in Fort Worth.
This year over 50 B’nai B’rith members and volunteers from Congregation Beth Israel, Beth-El Congregation and Congregation Ahavath Sholom, along with members of the Christian community, joined together for this special annual event.

Longtime volunteers Dr. Al Faigin and B’nai B’rith Board Member Robert Chicotsky get ready to cook hundreds of eggs for breakfast.

Longtime volunteers Dr. Al Faigin and B’nai B’rith Board Member Robert Chicotsky get ready to cook hundreds of eggs for breakfast.

It’s held every year at Beautiful Feet Ministries in Southeast Fort Worth, a Christian organization that serves the poor and the needy. On Christmas Day the Jewish community takes over and serves a hot breakfast and a hot lunch and distributes toys, clothing and toiletries collected throughout the year.
Each year 100-150 homeless and needy guests have their day brightened when the Tarrant County Jewish community works side-by-side to help those in need.
— Submitted by Jim Stanton

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Did dinosaurs exist?

Posted on 11 January 2018 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
I would like clarification about something you said in a previous column some time ago. Regarding the age of the universe, when describing the mainstream interpretation of the six days of creation, you mention that “God created the world with its oil fields, and the decayed life needed to bring them about.”
With regard to this statement, I bring up an incident that happened to my son five years ago. In his day school here in Dallas, a question arose about how to reconcile the date on the Jewish calendar with the age of dinosaurs. His secular studies teacher was unable to answer the question, and called in the head rabbi (no longer affiliated with his school) to help. The rabbi’s answer was that dinosaurs never existed. He went on to explain that Hashem simply planted dinosaur bones in the earth to test our faith.
So my question to you is, according to the Jewish point of view you are presenting, did dinosaurs exist or not?
— Liz
Dear Liz,
The interpretation you mentioned in the name of the head rabbi of your son’s school is, in fact, an approach suggested by the late leader of Chabad, the Lubavitcher Rebbe ob”m.
The Torah tells us that when the first man and woman were created, they were fully grown and developed, physically and mentally. They were not created as babies who needed to develop and become mature adults. Similarly, the animals of the world, the plants and trees were created in an advanced stage of development.
Since all the creatures in the world were created in a state that seemed to attest to many years of previous growth, perhaps the earth — and the entire cosmos — was also “born” bearing signs of many, many years of development. Stars needing billions of light-years to travel to earth to be seen by us may have been created with their light already reaching us at the same moment. Perhaps when God created the earth, He also created artifacts to attest to their ancestry. Thus, on the day that the animals were created, their prehistoric remains were created along with them.
This approach, in my humble opinion, leaves some disturbing questions unanswered and perhaps creates new questions. Since, according to the mainstream literal interpretation, God created the world in six days, why would He have altered it in a way that gives a false impression of being much older than it is?
Rabbi Shimon Schwab ob”m suggests that perhaps God did so in order to allow humans the possibility of denying the Creation. If divine creation of the world would be obvious to all, there would be no challenge in accepting this doctrine, and there would thus be no reward for those who accepted God’s mastery upon them.
This approach also has its difficulties. Adam and Eve, their son Cain, and many others after them managed to sin despite the clarity of the Creation by God. Jews and Gentiles sinned for thousands of years before Darwinism and paleontology made their impressions and most of mankind believed in a world created by God.
Apparently enough challenge to belief and observance exists even without this added alleged purposeful confusion. I personally have trouble digesting an approach that God purposely would exhibit a non-truth for any reason (although there may be a more profound explanation to this approach which needs careful thought). My friend and renowned colleague, Rabbi Professor Dovid Gottlieb, concurs with me on this point.
The following alternative approach is offered by the classical commentary to the Mishnah, the Tiferes Yisrael. The Kabbalists teach that God created and destroyed the world seven times. Each time He destroyed the world, it was in order to build a more complete, perfect world. It’s not that God made a mistake and tried to get it better the next time! It’s, rather, based upon a profound Kabbalistic teaching that the world needs to grow in seven stages toward perfection. This process needed to take place until the final creation of the world we live in. This is the world fit to receive the revelation of God’s will, in which God chose to give the Torah, and through it reach the ultimate world of tikkun or perfection.
He explains that the different layers of earth and rock which were found by scientists in his day (in the mid-1800s), with different types of fossils at each layer, are the result of the world being destroyed and rebuilt as we are taught by the Kabbalists. The lowest layer is that containing the dinosaurs. Each preceding world was covered over to provide the foundation for the next world, approaching closer and closer to the world of tikkun.
This approach seems to fit well with the “Impact Theory” proposed in 1980 by Nobel laureate Luis Alvarez. Scientists have long been bothered by the sudden mass extinction of the undisputed masters of the world — the dinosaurs. Alvarez with his son Walter proposed that a massive meteor collided with Earth causing this mass extinction. Alvarez had brought some 15 proofs to this theory by 1987, giving it wide acceptance.
This theory, however, gave birth to another concept, termed the “Anthropic Principle.” This means, briefly, that the meteor struck with just the precise impact to kill out dinosaurs and at the same time create the perfect environment for the survival of mankind and the surrounding animals which can be subjugated by mankind. A little stronger impact — nothing at all would have lived. A little weaker or lighter, the dinosaurs would have still thrived and not left room for mankind to exist.

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