By Amy Wolff Sorter
If you’ve already glanced through this issue of Texas Jewish Post, you’ve likely noticed the emphasis on Tu B’Shevat, and for good reason.
Almost from the beginning of our existence as a people, we’re charged with taking care of the environment, and the day that honors trees reminds us of that responsibility.
As I mentioned in previous columns, there are activities going on around Fort Worth to celebrate. In addition, why not host a Tu B’Shevat seder or take a stroll along the Trinity Trails? The weather this weekend is supposed to be clear and cool — perfect for outdoor walking.
Also, check in with Beth-El Congregation on Sunday, Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. — the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County is presenting “Trees: The Torah of Life,” which will have fun stuff for all ages.
And speaking of trees
I mentioned last week that Congregation Ahavath Sholom announced its goal of planting a grove of 1,000 trees in Israel.
I managed to catch up with Rabbi Gary Perras this past week (which was a challenge in itself for both of us), and he tells me there is more of a story here; that this isn’t the first time he’s spearheaded the planting of a lot of trees in Israel.
He also tells me that filling the current grove is a long-term project and will require the community’s help.
After this issue of TJP goes to press, I’ll pursue Rabbi Perras once again and get some more information about this program and its audacious (but very important) goal. Keep an eye out for an article during the next couple of weeks.
Welcome home Habers
Marian Haber was nice enough to send us pictures and information about hers and husband Julian’s 15-day European cruise.
It was fabulous, she said, though cold.
Another treat for the Habers — was cruising with former Fort Worth resident Barbara Bakal Manzi and her husband Jim Manzi, who originally hails from Los Angeles. Together, these couples visited London; Bruges in Belgium; Normandy, France; Lisbon, Portugal; Vigo, Spain and Bermuda.
I’m envious — though it was cold, a cruise throughout Europe seems like a really neat trip and I’m glad these four had such a good time.
Now, the Habers were good enough to share their trip and photos. Anyone else out there who has recently traveled, please send me the information (and a couple of photos) — as always, I can be reached at email@example.com.
Another round of applause for Joseph Klein
A few months ago, I wrote that Fort Worth resident Joe Klein wrote a six-part series of stories for the Elmer Times in New Jersey. The stories focused on Pittsgrove Township, where he grew up.
Well, the editors at the Elmer Times have had very good luck with these stories, so much so that when Joe wrote to ask if he should write another couple of stories about attending high school in Vineland, N.J. (which is not far from Elmer), the editors came back with an immediate “yes.”
Apparently these fine folks at the Elmer Times received a lot of positive feedback from their readership — and have also sold back copies with those stories.
Now, Joe said he’d e-mail me a couple of his drafts and I’m looking forward to reading them.
Alternately, he invited me to visit the Tarrant County Jewish archives at Congregation Ahavath Sholom (where his stories are in the archives) to read them as well.
I will take you up on that, Joe, as soon as I can breathe a little bit down here in Joshua.
In the meantime, I encourage others to pay a visit to the archives and take a look at these articles (as well as to take a look at the other history there). In the meantime, congratulations, Joe!
Micah Halpern and the Federation
Angie Kitzman at the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County was nice enough to send a recap of author, commentator and radio host Micah Halpern’s visit to the area on Jan. 19. Halpern, as the Federation’s scholar-in-residence, talked about the Arab Spring and what it means to Israel.
He spoke about it very strongly to me when I had the opportunity to interview him a couple of weeks ago and apparently, from what Angie tells me, he was just as compelling (if not a trifle unsettling) during his presentation.
Angie also pointed out that Halpern’s presentation sparked a great many lively conversations during the following reception.
This is a good thing. We need not assume that Arab Spring and western democracy are synonymous — in fact, based on what’s going on in the Middle East right now, the opposite seems to be true. As Jews, we need to keep a clear head about what, exactly, is going on in the Middle East.
It seems as though Halpern managed to shed a little light on that.
Angie also asked if I could send out a “thank you” to the scholar-in-residence committee members, and I do so gladly: Thank you, Karen Kaplan, Barbara Rubin, Len Schweitzer and Lisa Waz.
The next Daytimers session will take place Wednesday, Feb. 8, and will feature Jim Riddlesperger Jr., TCU political science professor and noted author. He’ll be on hand to discuss national and state politics.
Cost of the event is $9 (if you want lunch catered from Ming Work) or $4 (if you don’t).
Questions? Call Barbara Rubin at 817-927-2736.
Want to make reservations? Again, Barbara will be happy to help, or you can mail your check to Daytimers, c/o Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road., Fort Worth TX, 76109.
Or, if you’re like me and are too lazy for snail mail, register online at www.bethelfw.org/donations.