Around the Town
By Amy Wolff Sorter

In this issue (and in a previous one, for that matter), Laura Seymour, the “Shabbat Lady” (aka director of Jewish life and learning at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas) writes about what she terms as the “December Dilemma.” When Chanukah and Christmas fall together, there is the tendency to “substitute” one for the other, especially when children are involved. It becomes even more difficult for those kids when, on Dec. 25, their gentile friends are celebrating and they’re not.
One aspect to be considered is that of mitzvot — why not bake cookies and take them to the local fire department or police department, for example? Or contact a local hospital (or nursing home) and see if anyone needs the company. The Shabbat Lady suggests developing traditions during this time of year, as we celebrate the festival of miracles. Community service is a very good tradition to start.
In the meantime, as you light those first candles on the chanukiah, remember to recite the “Shechechyanu” and to be thankful for the friends and family in your life. May this season be filled with light and miracles for you all!

Understanding local history

My thanks goes to Hollace Weiner for keeping us up-to-date on the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History’s soon-to-be opening exhibit “Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America through Galveston.” The exhibit opens this Saturday and will be chock full of information about immigrants who came through Galveston Port to settle in the Lone Star state and, in some cases, the Midwest.
As part of this exhibit, the museum will offer a free screening beginning at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 18 of “West of Hester Street,” the 1983 docudrama about the Galveston immigration. Filmmakers Allen and Cynthia Mondell of Dallas will give a talk before the showing.
I highly recommend that everyone takes a few hours during the exhibit’s run to go to the museum at 1600 Gendy St. — this is a priceless opportunity to understand some of our history. Once it shuts down on April 1, it’s gone for good.

Honoring our veterans

A recent Veteran’s Day celebration co-sponsored by Beth-El Congregation and Jewish War Veterans Post 755 welcomed Admiral Harold Robinson as the guest speaker. Admiral Robinson is the highest-ranking Jewish chaplain to serve the United States; in addition, he was instrumental in getting the memorial to Jewish chaplains killed while serving their country installed on the Chaplain’s Memorial Hill at Arlington Cemetery.

Dr. Julian Haber (right) and Liberty House’s Lenny Welpman

Also during the event, Julian Haber, immediate past commander of the JWV post made a presentation of a donation of 30 electric clock radios to Liberty House, a rehabilitation and residential facility for homeless veterans. Dr. Haber also tells us that the JWV also donated an outside table and chairs this Fall to the organization, as well as regularly donating books and magazines.
I want to take this opportunity to thank these veterans for their service to our country — and to offer my apologies to Dr. Haber for the miscommunication in getting the original event into this column. The two groups I very much respect in this country are veterans and teachers; while the former protects our freedoms and rights, the latter teaches us how to use those rights effectively to be good citizens. Both are true callings.

Get your Chanukah on

If you’re trying to figure out how to observe Chanukah while getting out of the house, consider attending one of the two Tarrant County celebrations. You can read more about them on page 10 of this week’s issue. There’s also a great Chanukah calendar of events on page 16-17.

Mahjong cards available

The Fort Worth Hadassah is selling mahjong cards, with proceeds to benefit the organization. Standard size is $7; larger size is available for $8. Send your name, address and size, with a check made payable to Barbara Weinberg to  4600 Westlake Dr., Fort Worth, TX, 76132. Questions? Call Barbara at 817-346-0331. Deadline for orders is Jan. 16, 2012 — do NOT delay!
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