Around the Town
By Amy Wolff Sorter

Some years ago, I had the opportunity to interview nationally known motivational speaker Suzie Humphreys who, at the time, was Ron Chapman’s effervescent sidekick on 103.7 KVIL radio. Suzie had been through the Ringer of Life; going from broke, to out of a job, to divorced — and was also a breast cancer survivor. “Life is what happens when you make other plans,” she told me — and that was the call-out quote used on the article I wrote about her.
Certainly Suzie isn’t the only one to quote that line, but I’m reminded of it every so often when life decides to slap a big old wrench into my carefully planned life. Part of this “wrench” is built-in, it typically comes around this time of year as I observe the yahrzeit of my father, of blessed memory, who died three years ago from complications related to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
But this year, more “wrenchiness” came about when, after hauling our 15-year-old son to an orthopedist for a problem knee, we learned he’d sustained damage to his meniscus. The boy gets his knee scoped on March 15, right on the heels of my return from California, where I’ll be visiting my growing-older (but thankfully and finally healthy) mother.
I don’t like to air my personal stuff in this column — this is “Around the Town,” and the topic should be, appropriately, goings-on around the town rather than issues in the Sorter household.
But I did want to explain my incommunicado status to those who have been trying to reach out to me. I also wanted to explain why I’m going to be especially incommunicado during the next 10 days or so. I’m responding to emails when I can, and I truly appreciate everyone’s patience as my schedule gets back to normal.

Search for a cantor

Along the lines of life making other plans, Congregation Ahavath Sholom is in the middle of some interesting changes. The shul is on a hunt for a new cantor, and will be hosting two cantorial/educational director candidates during the next few weeks.
Shoshana Abrams will be in evidence this weekend, from March 9-11, while Elisa Abrams will visit the following weekend, March 16-18. I wish the staff and membership of CAS well as they move through this process of finding the right “fit” for the community.

Texas Jewish Historical Society’s annual meeting

Fort Worth is the site for this year’s Texas Jewish Historical Society’s 32nd Annual Meeting, which will begin on March 30 and conclude on April 1. This will also coincide with the final weekend of “Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America through Galveston,” which is currently on show at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.
The event will feature a private tour, courtesy of the exhibit’s original curator, Austin anthropologist Suzanne Seriff, as well as a panel discussion featuring Seriff and filmmakers Allen and Cynthia Mondell (who will show clips from their docudrama, “West of Hester Street”).
Another event for those arriving early enough on March 30 is an afternoon tour at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving (led by Jewish engraver Richard Baratz) and a banquet on Saturday night with keynote speaker Nick Kotz.
Kotz, a San Antonio native, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author who is working on a book entitled “The Harness Maker’s Vision: Nathan Kallison and the Rise of South Texas”.
The cost for the weekend meeting is $80 (not including accommodations, those are available at the Marriott Residence Inn near West 7th Street). For more information, log on to the historic society’s website at Registration deadline is March 15.

It’s never too soon to think about summer

If you’re looking for a fun place for your kids this year, Chabad of Arlington is gearing up for Camp Gan Israel.
Rishi Gurevitch, the Chabad’s Rebbetzin, tells me that early enrollment means an Early Bird special, which will end on March 15.
Also, a trial week is being offered — parents interested in giving this a try will get 50 percent off the normal rate.
Now, I’m going to be boring here because I’m going to talk about “my time in North Dallas,” during which we sent our son to Camp Gan Izzy at Chabad of Plano. I can honestly say those were among the best summers of his life. The experience was filled with all kinds of fun activities (from martial arts to photography lessons and even trips to Six Flags in Arlington) and even better, he got to hang out with a lot of Jewish kids.
I’m going to be even MORE boring by saying that the Camp Gan Izzy experience replicates the terrific experiences I had, growing up in suburban Chicago, when I was sent to a Jewish-oriented day camp.
In other words, I encourage parents to look into it either by logging onto the shul’s website (, emailing the Rebbetzin at or calling 817-451-1171.

WRJ donor brunch a rousing success

This event, the largest fund-raiser for Women of Reform Judaism, took place Feb. 12 at Beth-El Congregation and featured Jewish Family Service’s Carole Rogers as keynote speaker.

WRJ Donor Brunch chair Trudie Oshman and Dr. Carole Rogers | Photo: Courtesy of Laurie James

Carole had a great deal to offer from what we are told (not that she doesn’t ALWAYS!), but in this case, she touched on issues ranging from volunteer opportunities to practical ideas of incorporating mitzvahs into busy lives.
Even better is that the proceeds enabled the WJR to keep its $10,000 commitment to Beth-El’s religious school, as well as allowing the organization to support the congregation’s other programs. The enclosed photos show that everyone had a pretty good time — nice job!

Daytimers swing into spring

As a reminder, the next Daytimers’ meeting will take place at noon, March 14 at Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Rd. Attendees will get to enjoy a swing dance demo by Chandler Smith (with TCU) and Angelia Williams (with Thurston Energy). More importantly, this duo has taught dance together for six years and have taught workshops on swing cruises.

The WRJ Donor Brunch Committee

Lunch is available (Pak-a-Pocket is catering this month); the cost is $9 if you want lunch, $4 if not. Contact Barbara Rubin (817-927-2736) or Hugh Lamensdorf (817-738-1428) for more information, or log onto

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