By Sharon Wisch-Ray
Congratulations to Marvin Beleck who was named Jewish Person of the Year by the Isadore Garsek Lodge of B’nai B’rith Sept. 14 at the annual dinner. I look forward to sharing more details about what I hear was a splendid evening as well as some photos in next week’s column.
It’s the time of year when the High Holidays and preparing for them are on everyone’s mind. There is no better way to get into the spiritual mindset than to attend Selichot services, and the Reform and Conservative synagogues of Fort Worth and Tarrant County along with the Jewish Federation have a dandy program in store for attendees.
This year’s Selichot scholar will be Rabbi Marla Feldman, executive director of the Women of Reform Judaism. Rabbi Feldman will deliver a trio of lectures. At 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19 at Beth-El Congregation in Fort Worth, she will speak on “Just Say No! The Commandments you Should Not Follow.” Beth-El’s Shir Hallelujah, volunteer choir, will sing. Rabbi Feldman will be at Beth Israel in Colleyville at 9 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 20. Her topic will be “Lift Up Your Voice Like a Shofar: Hearing Isaiah’s Call.” On Saturday evening at 8 p.m. at Beth Shalom in Arlington, the topic will be “Standing Together and Leaning In: Reform Women Changing the World.”
Rabbi Feldman has an extensive and impressive resume. As the executive director of the Women of Reform Judaism, the women’s affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism, she represents 65,000 women in 500 sisterhoods throughout North America. As both a Reform rabbi and a lawyer, Feldman brings a unique perspective to issues relevant to Jewish people.
Previously, Rabbi Feldman served as the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) director of development, director of the Commission on Social Action and director of the Department of Social Action.
In 2010 she obtained a Certificate in Fundraising from the NYU Heyman Center. Feldman received her J.D. from the University of Florida in 1993 and is a member of the Florida Bar. She was ordained from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (New York) in 1985 and received her B.A. in Jewish Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1979.
Rabbi Feldman represents the URJ in national coalitions and has served on many nonprofit boards, including the Save Darfur Coalition, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Rabbis for Human Rights-NA, Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief, Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues and the interfaith advisory boards of Cover the Uninsured Week and National AIDS Partnership.
Before joining the staff of the URJ, Rabbi Feldman worked in the Jewish Community Relations field in Detroit and Delaware and served congregations in Orlando and Sarasota, Florida.
Rabbi Feldman’s social justice work has taken her to Asia, South America and Africa. Most recently she delivered mosquito nets to refugees in Kenya through the URJ Nothing But Nets campaign. She has led numerous “mitzvah corps” service learning programs throughout the U.S. and Israel.
Feldman is the author of several Reform Movement action manuals. Her articles, Op Eds and modern midrash have appeared in periodicals, books and newspapers throughout the country.
An opportunity to save a life
Beth-El Congregation will start the year off with an important project on Yom Kippur. Partnering with the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism the temple will hold a swab drive to help collect potential bone marrow donors Oct. 4. Potential donors will be entered into the bone marrow registry.
Registration is simple. It requires a quick cheek swab and completion of a consent form. Potential donors must be between the ages of 18 and 60 and in general good health.
The only way that you will ever know if you are eligible to save a life is by taking this first step. The entire process takes less than 10 minutes. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Social Action Chair, Laurie James, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have known a number of people who have both been recipients of bone marrow and donors who matched through cheek swab programs.
By the time the next edition of the TJP hits your mail box it will be 5775. On behalf of the Wisch family and the entire TJP staff, we wish you a happy and healthy new year. May you be inscribed. And that’s a 30 for 5774!