Congregation raises a toast to 21 years
Congregation Anshai Torah (CAT) will celebrate 21 years at its annual Diamonds & Dice Casino Party by honoring one of its founding families, Pam and Matt Kurtzman from 8 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Congregation Anshai Torah.
“Anshai Torah has grown through the years and we now have generations of connections,” said Shawn Frank, co-chairing the evening with Julia Kaufman and Eric Olschwanger. “Pam and Matt, their daughters and family extensions, are examples of what the Anshai Family is, and we’re thrilled to honor them.”
Little of Anshai Torah’s success hasn’t been touched by Kurtzman family fingerprints. The couple, and their daughters Melissa and Heather, have been staples since Shomray Torah and Anshai Emet became one.
“When the concept of a new synagogue came up we jumped on the bandwagon, excited about being a part of something new. Our families have grown, and grown up, over the years but Friday night at Anshai is still where we connect,” said Pam, a former CAT Sisterhood co-president and member of the congregation’s board of directors.
A leader of adult education and Miriam’s Cup programming, and a member of the religious school director search, membership, and Shabbat Shiddach dinner committees, Pam’s warm welcome is a fixture at Kabbalat Shabbat services. “Anshai is where you can participate as much or as little as you’re able,” she says, “and always feel a part of something special.”
A New York native, Pam was raised in Overland Park, Kansas, the daughter of Lenny and Roberta Poznick and sister of Karyn. She attended services and religious school through Hebrew High, at Ohev Shalom Synagogue. A committed BBYO member and leader, in high school, Pam found her personal connection to prayer and her Jewish identity.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School, with an MBA from Duke University, Pam began her career in commercial lending. A few years after the family moved to Dallas, she became the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ first CFO and since 2008 has been the program administrator for the National Jewish Federation Bond Program.
The son of Jimmie, of blessed memory, and Laura, and the brother of David, Felice and Hillary, Matt was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. His family were founders of the Canarsie Jewish Center, a traditional Conservative shul, and synagogue life, participation in junior congregation, and acting as a lay cantor have been at his core. “To know and understand prayers — to pray, not just ‘say’ the prayers — has always been important,” he says.
A founder and now director of Anshai Torah’s a cappella group, Kol Rina, Matt has served on CAT’s board of directors, as financial and recording secretary and treasurer on the executive committee, and twice as Men’s Club president.
“Anshai has always felt like family,” said Matt, who earned an accounting degree from Brooklyn College and an MBA from the University of Chicago. The longtime director of finance for Brinks, Inc., began his career in Dallas with SABRE/American Airlines. “We didn’t have family here for many years but we made friends, who became family, and those relationships are great treasures. Anshai is the base of those relationships.”
CAT’s Diamonds & Dice event co-chairs are joined in planning the special event by Jackie Austein, Beth Berk, Cynthia Brooks-Delgado, Debbie Cohn, Jon Feldman, David Ginchansky, Marcia Kaufman, Harvey Swento and Brad Welcher.
In addition to the casino games, there will be light snacks, desserts and a cash bar. A casino raffle, and silent auction featuring a tour of WFAA, led by Pete Delkus, and shopping, pampering, sports and travel packages will be held.
Table sponsorships are available and individual ticket prices are $80. Each ticket includes a donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, honoring Pam’s dedication to the organization — her family joining her in the Komen 3 Day walk — in the wake of her own fight against breast cancer a decade ago.
“The warmth that brought us to Anshai, has kept us here,” said Matt, “and we are honored to celebrate, and be celebrated, with and by the congregation we love.”
For more event details, to RSVP, or to provide sponsorship for Diamonds & Dice, call 972-473-7718 or visit anshaitorah.org.
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