Thanksgiving has ended, and now our sights turn to … December! I know there are a great many activities occurring in the coming month and it’s my hope to see some of them (and hopefully to write about them!).
Chanukah is a terrific time of year; though its one festival or observance not mandated in the Torah, the festival of lights has a deeper, more spiritual meaning than munching on latkes, lighting candles or playing with dreidels.
I’ve listed a couple of Chanukah events in this column, but if any of you know of more out there, please get them to me.
Again, as a reminder, I WILL publish news about your lifecycle events, trips, activities, illnesses, recoveries and so on. All you need to do is reach out — my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to hear from you soon!
Give the gift … of blood
Yes, it’s time for the Jewish community’s Winter Blood Drive, to take place at Beth-El Congregation. The drive, which will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Dec. 11, is sponsored by Beth-El’s Social Action Committee, with Carter BloodCare doing the tasks.
Though drop-ins are welcome, reservations are preferred, and can be made by calling Dan Halpern at 817-426-3239.
Last week I mentioned the exhibit opening at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History entitled “Gateway: Coming to America through Galveston Island.”
Jan Siegel Hart of Temple, Texas, e-mailed us to let us know that she would be appearing at this exhibit as Hanna the Immigrant at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 27.
In reading Jan’s website, I learned that Hanna is a character in a book Jan wrote (entitled, appropriately enough, “Hanna, The Immigrant”).
Hanna grew up in Russia at the turn of the century, and difficulties in the rabidly anti-Semitic Czarist Russia forced her family to flee to the United States. The book itself describes the trials and tribulations of Hanna’s family as they fled to the New World.
Now, my ancestors didn’t come through Galveston port — but my mother’s grandparents did make their way to the United States from Russia at around the same time as Hanna and her family, so I find this particularly fascinating.
At any rate, Jan will be there as Hanna, and it’s likely to be an interesting program.
A Musical Daytimers
Here is something that sounds truly awesome: The December Daytimers’ event (Wednesday, Dec. 14), will feature Beth-El’s favorite mezzo soprano, Genie Long.
Genie will treat attendees to various songs from several decades in a program appropriately named “A Sentimental Journey.”
Beth-El’s Brad Volk will also be there as accompanist.
Genie sang for many years with the Fort Worth Symphony’s resident chorus. She has appeared at Bass Hall many times, including the symphony’s first performance there. She currently sings at Beth-El and University Christian Church.
Brad’s credentials are impressive as well — in addition to serving as organist/choir director at Beth-El, he also is the organist/choirmaster at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church inBreckenridge, Texas. Brad studied with famed organist Emmet Smith, Herndon Professor of Music, Emeritus, Texas Christian University, and is a long-time member of the American Guild of Organists.
As well as treating your ears, you can treat your taste buds with lunch, courtesy of Pak-a-Pocket (pita sandwich choices are turkey pastrami, chicken shawarma or baba ganouj — eggplant).
Interested? Call Barbara Rubin, 817-927-2736, or Irv Robinson, 817-731-7447, or mail checks to Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth, TX 76109. You can also reserve online at www.bethelfw.org/donations.
Let’s light the menorah
While living in North Dallas, our family would make it a tradition each year to drive out to Willow Bend Mall in Plano around this time of year to witness the lighting of a huge menorah, courtesy of Chabad of Plano.
One year, a huge Lego menorah was put together at the Chabad, then trundled over to Willow Bend for the lighting.
I mention this because I’m very glad to report that Chabad of Arlington is doing something similar.
On Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 6 p.m., a grand menorah lighting will take place at Arlington City Hall. Admission is free, there will be hot latkes and donuts available (so have the Tums and Rolaids ready), live music and arts and crafts.
What’s really cool about this event is that the goal here is to build a “Can-Orah” — in other words, the good folks are planning to build a giant menorah from donated food cans which will, in turn, be sent to a local charity.
Chabad is looking for sponsors as well. Interested? Log onto www.arlingtonchabad.org.
Another Chanukah observance
Beth-El Congregation will also celebrate Chanukah on Friday, Dec. 16. Following a Shabbat service at 6 p.m., dinner will be served, complete with latkes made by the Brotherhood.
Also on hand is a musical program with the Crowley Honor Choir, and a reception honoring the baby naming of Elanor Rose Blumefield (mazel!).
RSVPs are required for the dinner; contact Beth-El at 817-332-7141 or e-mail email@example.com.