Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
Federation annual meeting to feature national board chair
The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County will convene its 81st annual meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 25, at Beth-El Congregation. Richard Sandler, chair of the board of trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America, will be the featured guest speaker.
JFNA brings together 148 Federations and 300 Network Communities to maximize impact as the central address of North American Jewry. Ranked among the top 10 charities in the world, JFNA collectively raises over $900 million through the Annual Campaign each year and distributes over $2 billion from foundations and endowments.
Sandler is the past chair of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Joining Sandler will be JFNA National Campaign Chair and Fort Worth native Harold Gernsbacher.
Federation President Lon Werner will present the “State of the Federation.” JFS Chair Alden Karotkin will provide an update on JFS’ services. Other items on the agenda include: honoring board members completing their terms; election of the 2017-2018 board of directors and officers; and election of the 2017-2018 Jewish Family Services Committee. A dessert reception will follow the meeting.
Newest recipient of the Sylvia and Jerry Wolens Award
The announcement of this year’s Sylvia and Jerry Wolens Award winner is surely to be a highlight of next week’s Federation meeting.
Lisa Rein will be presented with the prestigious award Thursday. Lisa takes an active role as a director of the Federation. She solicited donors for present and future gifts through her service on the Annual Campaign team and the Life & Legacy endowment development committee. Lisa was a member of the 2015 Federation leadership program that traveled to Israel and has been a strong advocate since. A person of integrity, Lisa is a dedicated member of Congregation Beth Shalom in Arlington and she is grateful to call it her congregational family and spiritual home, with Cantor Sheri Allen as its leader. Lisa is a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial. She is the proud parent of two children, Rachel and David, and has been happily married to Michael for 31 years. Mazal tov Lisa!
Richard Baratz: a ‘portrait’ of artistic talent
“Find something that you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
Familiar advice for finding one’s life’s work and very appropriate for caricaturist and multitalented artist Richard Baratz, whose passion for drawing is among his earliest, treasured memories. “From a very early age, I picked up something to draw with on anything handy, and at age 10, I began art school,” Baratz said.
For the next three months, Fort Worth’s Beth-El Congregation will showcase his work in “Capturing the Famous and the Familiar.”
Diverse, creative and eclectic aptly describe his decades of artistic creation, including scenes of New York, cowboys and the Old West, and Judaic art, both cultural and religious, executed in watercolor, pastel, pen and ink, and various types of mixed media.
In addition to his primary career as a currency engraver for the U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving, Baratz has served for more than 40 years as the caricaturist for Sardi’s, a 90-year-old New York City institution, which he describes as “a magnetic and exciting mecca for stage and theater professionals.” And, since 1995, he has also been the artist for the Bob Hope Cultural Center’s McCallum Theater in Palm Desert, California.
As Sardi’s fourth resident and longest-tenured artist, he has created more than 1,000 caricatures of Broadway stars, writers, directors and producers as well as other celebrities who have frequented the legendary restaurant.
Well-known in the New York theater district, Baratz, a Brooklyn native who studied at New York’s School of Visual Arts and the American Art School, relocated to Keller more than a dozen years ago. Since then, he created the majority of the caricatures from photos emailed to him by Sardi’s current owner, Max Klimavicius.
“Baratz’s engraving background brings a rich look to his work,” said the late Vincent Sardi, Jr. Specifically, cross-hatching used in engraving gives a three-dimensional look to caricatures, which have evolved to feature less exaggeration of features and greater emphasis on flattering, identifiable portrayals.
With decades of interacting with a great array of Broadway talent, both onstage and behind the scenes, Baratz has amassed some treasured memories. Among his favorites are Katharine Hepburn and Tom Hanks, both of whom he worked with in person. He brought Hepburn a dozen roses and found her “charmingly old-fashioned and solicitous of his welfare.” More recently, he flew to New York to caricature Tom Hanks, whom he termed “a regular guy and everybody’s friend.”