As of this writing, the Dallas-Fort Worth area is on track to break the 1980 record for the largest number of 100-degree-plus days in a given year. This, of course, follows the winter of 2011, which was the coldest on record. It’s been a year of extremes in many respects.
The good news is that we’re about ready to flip the page of the Jewish calendar to 5772. While we don’t have much control over the Texas weather, we do have control over our lives. The current month of Elul, along with upcoming Days of Awe is a good time to atone for this past year’s misdeeds while taking steps toward self-improvement. Some of the activities mentioned in this week’s Around the Town can provide some assistance.
Jesus was a Jew …
Amy-Jill Levine, professor of Jewish-Christian relations at Vanderbilt University (and affiliate professor of Jewish-Christian relations at the Woolf Institute in Cambridge, England) will talk about “Jesus and Jewish-Christian Relations: Problems and Possibilities” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 20 in the Brown-Lupton University Union’s ballroom, 2901 Stadium Dr. at TCU. Levine is a guest of honor for the 14th Annual Gates of Chai Lectureship, sponsored by Brite Divinity School and the Jewish Studies Program and Texas Chrisian University.
According to TCU, Levine is a self-described “Yankee Jewish feminist who teaches in a predominantly Christian divinity school in the buckle of the Bible Belt.” Furthermore, the information about her notes that she “combines historical-critical rigor, literary-critical sensitivity and a frequent dash of humor with a commitment to eliminating anti-Jewish, sexist, and homophobic theologies.”
She also has the sheepskins and experience to back all of this up: She is a graduate of Smith College, received her master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Duke University and has been recognized with honorary degrees from five institutions. She’s also an author of “The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus.”
Tickets are $20 for general admission and reserved parking and $75 for reserved seats, a pre-event reception and priority parking. Students can attend for free. Call 817-257-7575 or log onto www.brite.tcu.edu for more information. By the way, the Gates of Chai lecture series is sponsored through Gates of Chai Inc., in memory of Larry Kornbleet and family members of Stanley and Marcia Kornbleet Kurtz who perished in the Holocaust.
Dead Sea Scrolls and scholarship …
Ariel Feldman, who is the Rosenthal Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and TCU Brite Divinity School’s director of Jewish Studies will be very busy Sept. 23-24, as he will be making presentations at Congregation Beth-El, Congregation Beth Shalom and Congregation Beth Israel, though not at the same time, of course. The topic? “Noah, Moses and Joshua: Insights from the Dead Sea Scrolls.”
During the 1940s and 1950s, scrolls turned up in caves near Qumran on the Dead Sea shores. These scrolls consisted of biblical texts and documents from the Qumranians, but they’re considered the oldest copies of biblical materials in existence. Given that Feldman has just arrived in Fort Worth and has extensive knowledge of the Dead Sea Scrolls, this should be an interesting weekend. Kudos to the three shuls for banding together to sponsor this program. Here’s the schedule.
Fri., Sept. 23, 8 p.m. — Beth El, 4900 Briarhaven Rd., Fort Worth. While adults listen to Feldman, educational director Ilana Knust will lead the children through a hands-on program about the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Sat., Sept. 24, 10 a.m. — Beth Shalom, 1212 Thannisch Dr., Arlington. Presentation will take place during the morning service, with Kiddush lunch to follow.
Sat., Sept. 24, 8 p.m. — Beth Israel, 6100 Pleasant Run Rd., Colleyville. Reception follows at 9 p.m., and a Selichot Service at 9:30 p.m.
Roll up your sleeves, Tarrant County!
The past few weeks, we’ve published a variety of articles about Elul in the TJP, with a couple of our learned rabbis writing quite eloquently about the month of Elul as a period of time during which self-accounting and analysis takes place. This in turn, helps us become better people. Part of becoming a better person is reaching out to others. So, under the category of “no excuses on the path to mitzvot,” the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County is offering a plethora of volunteer opportunities throughout 2011 and into 2012.
Angie Kitzman, who is with the Federation, was nice enough to send over the following events and dates. Interested? Contact Angie (with your volunteer activity of choice) at 817-569-0892 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oct. 30: Community Thank You Program — Amy and Andra concert/Congregation Ahavath Sholom. Volunteers are needed to help backstage and to organize a small reception.
Nov. 20: PJ Library Family Activity. This is a new program that, according to the Federation, is “geared toward our littlest citizens and their families.” Have ideas? Join the committee!
Jan. 20, 2012: Kornbleet Scholar in Residence. Be a part of bringing an informative and engaging speaker to town.
Feb. 5, 2012: Community Tu B’Shevat Program at Beth-El Congregation.
March 2012: Women’s event — ideas are welcome.
March 4, 2012: Community Purim Carnival, Congregation Beth Israel.
April 15, 2012: Yom Ha’Shoah, Congregation Beth Shalom. Help be a part of this moving program.
April 25, 2012: Yom Ha’Zikaron, to honor Israeli servicemen and servicewomen. Beth-El Congregation.
April 29, 2012: Yom Ha’Atzmaut at Congregation Ahavath Sholom — Israeli Independence Day!
Thank you, CAS …
Congregation Ahavath Sholom president Marvin Beleck tells us that members of the entire Tarrant County community are welcome to attend High Holy Day services at CAS, whether members or not. “We are so proud of our facility, of our participatory services and of our new rabbi, Rabbi Andrew Bloom, that we want to give everyone an opportunity to meet him and have an Ahavath Sholom experience during the upcoming holidays,” Marvin writes.
Joining Rabbi Bloom on the pulpit for the High Holidays will be Cantor Richard Browdy. Cantor Browdy comes to Fort Worth for the holidays this year from his home in Jacksonville, Fla. where for 37 years he served as the High Holiday Cantor for Beth Shalom Congregation. His rich baritone chanting of the traditional melodies promises to lift congregants’ prayers to greater heights and allow them to feel a new closeness to God.
Those are interested in attending services on Rosh Hashanah and/or Yom Kippur need only call the synagogue office at 817-731-4721. While donations are always accepted, the tickets are available at no charge.
And finally, from the Johnson County Jewish front …
There will be a “meet-and-greet” event on Sunday, Oct. 30, sometime during the early afternoon. A specific time is to come. Right now the plan is to host this at our house, but if response is overwhelming, that could change. This is a farbrengen, Yiddish for “joyous gathering,” and we’ll see where it might lead. My husband Dave likes the idea of possibly scheduling bi-monthly dinners on Fridays before Kabbalat Shabbat services or possibly Havdallah services at the end of Shabbat, followed by a meal.
We’ll discuss this, and other, ideas that can help those of us who live south of Tarrant County stay better connected. Those interested, please contact me directly at email@example.com.