Around the Town
By Amy Wolff Sorter

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for about the past two weeks, you likely know Israel has been undergoing a terrible crisis, thanks to Hamas and its position in Gaza. As of this writing, the ceasefire between Gaza and Israel is still in place, but as with anything, this is day to day.
If you’re truly interested in learning what’s going on in the Middle East and in Israel, I suggest you attend an update that will take place at 7 p.m. today at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 4050 S. Hulen in Fort Worth.
Gil Elan, president and CEO of Southwest Jewish Congress, will be on hand, and he brings with him impressive credentials. He’s a retired lieutenant colonel from the Israel Defense Forces and a Middle East analyst — in other words, he knows his stuff.
Check out the article in the Nov. 22 edition of the TJP in which he was quoted — he provided a lot of good information about current goings-on in the Middle East. I know this event announcement is last minute, but if you are available, please attend.

The traveling Levines

Debbie (Stryer) Levine writes to tell us that she and husband Larry Levine were on the go in recent weeks. First, they traveled to San Francisco, Monterrey, Carmel and Big Sur (I’m jealous — those are very pretty parts of the country). While there, the couple spent time with a college friend they hadn’t seen in close to 40 years.
Following their return from the West Coast, Larry was out the door again, this time traveling to Key West, Fla., for an annual reunion with elementary school friends — and upon his return, Larry and Debbie got on a plane bound for Philadelphia (including a trip to Rehoboth Beach, Del).
“The Delaware beaches are beautiful and Philadelphia is a great walking city,” Debbie noted. “It has so much history. No matter how long we were there, we didn’t run out of things to see and do. It was a great trip.”
To which I respond: “Welcome back — I’m glad you had fun and thanks for sharing your fun with us.”

… and speaking of travels and other activities …

I’ll make my “please send me information and news” pitch midway through this column instead of at the end, as I usually do — nothing like shaking things up a little to get readers’ attention.
We’re coming into that time of year during which people travel, or host guests, or have fun — or any number of things. Let me know what you’re up to. I’m grateful for folks like Debbie Levine who keep me posted on their doings, and I’m glad to see that there are weeks during which “Around the Town” is less of an activities calendar and more about what’s going on with our readers.
Keep it up. Send me your activities at

Planning for Chanukah

With Thanksgiving a recent memory, it’s time to turn our attention to Chanukah.
I mentioned last week that Congregation Ahavath Sholom will host a community wide first-night-of Chanukah event at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 at the synagogue (4050 S. Hulen). The event will feature candles to be lit by Fort Worth city officials, and the Jewish bluegrass band Lucky Break from Milwaukee will on hand for entertainment. If you plan to attend, call the office at 817-731-4721 and let JoAnn know how many tickets you’ll need.
And just in case you don’t have enough of public menorah lightings in Tarrant County, Chabad of Arlington will host a second-night-of-Chanukah “Can-Orah” menorah lighting at 6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9 at Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram St.
An Arlington city official will be on hand to help light candles, and the event will feature live music and arts and crafts for the kiddos (along with latkes and doughnuts).
The “Can-Orah” is a neat concept involving a menorah built from cans donated to Chabad of Arlington (it’s suggested the cans be dropped off at the shul at 2136 Linblad Court in Arlington by Dec. 7, or you can bring them with you to the event itself). After the event, the cans are donated to the Arlington Life Shelter.
I attended last year’s Can-Orah lighting and it was a lot of fun — about 75 people showed up, which wasn’t bad for a weeknight. With the event on a weekend this year, more folks will likely come to celebrate.
Whether you attend one of these events or both, there is plenty of fun going on during that first weekend of Chanukah. But if you become bored during the eight days of Chanukah, consider attending …

… an ice rink menorah lighting

Chabad of Arlington is getting around this year — on Wednesday, Dec. 12, it will host a grand menorah lighting at its “Chanukah on Ice” event, which will take place from 4-6 p.m. at Ice at the Parks, 3815 S. Cooper St. in Arlington.
Ice skating, Chanukah music, latkes, doughnuts, hot chocolate and dreidels will be in abundance. The cost is $10 per person (and includes skate rentals) — $40 maximum for families. RSVPs are essential for this event — you can either let them know you’re coming by calling 817-451-1171 or emailing

Daytimers honor veterans

The recent Daytimers program featured Julian Haber and his program, “Jewish American Military Heroes You Never Heard Of.” The program was highly moving and concluded with Haber naming local individuals who received medals for valor during times of war.

Harold Winston invites Sylvia Wolens Daytimers members to the group’s next event, a Dec. 12 trip to The Legacy at Willow Bend, where Winston and several other former Fort Worth residents live. | Photo: Courtesy Barbara Rubin

Two World War II veterans in attendance — Irwin Gratch and Arthur Hofstein — were honored for their bravery and sacrifice in serving our nation.
Next on tap for the Daytimers is a Wednesday, Dec. 12 trip to The Legacy at Willow Bend in Plano, courtesy of Legacy resident (and long-time Fort Worthian) Harold Winston. Legacy will provide transportation, leaving Beth-El Congregation (4900 Briarhaven in Fort Worth) at 10 a.m., along with lunch and a Chanukah candle lighting.
This is a terrific opportunity to visit with former Fort Worthians, as well as to help spread Chanukah cheer among Legacy residents. For information about this upcoming trip, or to make a reservation, contact Barbara Rubin at 817-927-2736.

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