Around the Town
By Amy Wolff Sorter

Congratulations go to our own home-town group, The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, for its recognition of “meritorious cooperation and mutual support” from the Union for Reform Judaism Synagogue-Federation Relations Committee’s Shutafim program.
This is a mouthful, but suffice it to say that the Fort Worth/Tarrant County J-Fed is being commended for its assistance and support of area shuls and synagogues, as well as programming that benefits the Tarrant County Jewish community.
That sound of clapping hands you’re hearing is me, all the way from Joshua. We’re fortunate in that we have such an active and involved Federation in Tarrant County — I can safely say that three-quarters of the activities I mention in this column are supported, in some part, by this organization.
A couple of months ago, I chatted with the Federation’s incoming program director, Angie Kitzman, who told me that her goal is to further boost programming, events and activities for all ages throughout the Jewish community.
The Federation has a good start so far in 2012 as its first event takes place tonight at Beth-El Congregation — Micah Halpern, as Larry Kornbleet Memorial Scholar-in-Residence will talk about “The Muddy Middle East: Arab Spring and Israel.” With Angie’s energy and the entire organization’s dedication, look for more of such enriching and enlightening events to come.

Entertainment at the NFTY-TOR Conclave

The Jewish community is cordially invited to hear Rabbi Noam Katz in “A Percussion Infused Concert” at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 21 at Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven in Fort Worth.
Rabbi Katz is known at the URJ Eisner and Kutz Camps as song leader, and has toured throughout North America, Africa, England and Israel.
The promotion notes that “he has shared his high-flying energy and soulful melodies with Jewish and interfaith audiences.” This sounds like a great way to conclude Shabbat!
Following the performance, the North American Federation of Temple Youth will lead Havdalah. Sponsors include Beth-El, Dan Danciger with the Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation and NFTY.

Daytimers and Spinoza

Garrett Storms as Spinoza confronts his Dutch Christian girlfriend Barrett Nash about their forbidden relationship.

On Jan. 11, the Daytimers had the opportunity to see excerpts from Stage West’s current production of “New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza at Talmud Torah Congregation, Amsterdam, July 27, 1656.” Participants also had the chance to chat with director Jerry Russell and the cast as well.
But that’s not all — the Daytimers are planning a trip to Stage West to see the play. This will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 22.
If you’re interested, call Stage West at 817-784-9378. Have your credit card ready and make sure to ask to be seated with the Daytimers group. Cost for seniors is $20 (or two for $26 with a press pass).

If it’s January, it’s time for JLI

Fanette Sonkin introduces her old friend Jerry Russell

And the next course in this three-part series is timely. Entitled “Jewish Business Ethics: Money Matters,” the six-week course teaches Judaism’s approach to economic dilemmas and monetary issues on both a personal and professional basis.
Look for topics such as “The Ethics of Insider Trading,” “Wages of the Working Poor,” “The Right to Organize and Strike,” and the “Ethics of CEO Compensation.”
Perhaps the folks on Wall Street who helped in the making of the Great Recession should take heed.
Emcee for the day was Irv Robinson

There are two locations where this class will take place. Chabad of Arlington will offer it at noon and 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 23 and Chabad of Fort Worth and Tarrant County will have it at 7:30 p.m. beginning Wednesday, Jan. 25.
I’ve sung the praises of JLI courses in the past, and this one truly seems to be a beneficial one. Your best bet to register is by logging on to JLI’s website at

Illana Stein returns

Fort Worth native Illana Stein (who currently lives in New York and is developing her own theater company) is returning to her stomping grounds to direct not one, but two plays in the upcoming months.
Her first endeavor, a staged reading of “Two Rooms” by Lee Blessing (presented by Amphibian Stage), will take place at 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 30 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell Street. For more information call 817-923-3012 or visit
Illana is also directing the play “Emma,” a takeoff on the Jane Austen novel, and will run from March 23 through April 1 at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, 1300 Gendy Street. The play is being produced by the Stolen Shakespeare Guild; information can be obtained by calling 866-811-4111 or visiting

Hadassah lunch & learn … for FREE!!!

In recent weeks, I’ve noted that the Fort Worth Chapter of Hadassah will host a Shabbat Lunch & Learn at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28 at Congregation Beth Shalom, 1212 Thannisch Dr. in Arlington — and that the cost of this event was $18.
Not a bad price to learn something new and to get lunch in the bargain.
But the good folks with Hadassah told us that, thanks to a generous sponsor, the event is now free to participants. You still need to contact Dolores Schneider at 817-294-7626 or by Jan. 24 with your reservation, however.
The topic, “Scripture, Salmon and the Fairer Sex,” will be presented by Dr. Toni Craven from TCU’s Brite Divinity School following services conducted by Cantor Sheri Allen.

Readying for Tu B’Shevat

Yes, it’s January, and yes it’s moderately cold outside. But 15 Shevat is just around the corner.
To remind us that we are all caretakers of our planet, the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County (with financial help from Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation) will present “Trees: The Torah of Life” at 10 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 5 at Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road.
This family-friendly event will feature a seder with a discussion about what the Torah says about our collective partnership with God as stewards of the earth.
Kid-friendly activities will be plentiful as well and child care is available.
For more information call the Federation at 817-569-0892.
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