Around the Town — February 2008

Beth-El Congregation Race for the Cure Education Night to feature Dr. Robyn Young
Beth-El’s Women of Reform Judaism will present experts on the cutting edge of research and treatment for breast cancer to answer your questions at a Race for the Cure Education Night. This panel is free and open to anyone in the Jewish community.
Dr. Robyn Young is a medical oncologist, focusing her practice solely on breast cancer. She is the director of the Breast Center at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Fort Worth. WRJ is teaming Dr. Young with Sarah Pirzadeh, MS, CGC, a genetic counselor working at the Moncrief Cancer Resource Center.
If you have a family history of breast cancer or wonder what the genetic risks might be for you and your children, you should know that many women who get breast cancer have no family history of the disease. Education is your best defense against breast cancer!
The program will be held on Wednesday. March 5, 6–8 p.m. at Beth-El, 4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth.
Seating and food are limited to people who RSVP by March 1. RSVPs should be made to Roberta Gerrick,
Women’s event at Ahavath Sholom
I have it on good firsthand authority from my No. 1 daughter, Linda Wisch Davidsohn of Dallas, that you are in for a special treat when Naomi Ackerman presents “Celebrate Jewish Women’s History Month with ‘Flowers Aren’t Enough.’”
The program will be held at Congregation Ahavath Sholom on Monday, March 3. The women’s event is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County with financial support from the Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation.
Lunch will be served at 11:45 a.m. with the program following at 12:15 p.m.
Fees are $18 per person for luncheon and program or $10 per person for program only. Your check or charge is your reservation. Reservations for the lunch, program or babysitting, using your credit card, should be made immediately by calling the Federation office, 817-569-0892. Please make checks payable to the Jewish Federation and send to 4049 Kingsridge, Fort Worth, TX 76109.
“Flowers Aren’t Enough” is the brainchild of Naomi Ackerman. In 1998, she was invited to do a program on domestic violence for a group under the auspices of Israel’s welfare ministry. Instead of a standard lecture on the topic, Naomi created an original monologue based on interviews with abused women at a shelter in Jerusalem. Since that time she has performed this program in Israel, the United States, Australia and many other places.
Ms. Ackerman holds a B.A. from Hebrew University and teaching credentials from the David Yellin Teachers Seminary in Israel. With stage credits in drama and musicals as well as television and film, she is also a professional clown and stilt walker. Currently she specializes in conflict resolution, working to promote peace between Arabs and Israelis. Her most recent project is “Women’s Voices,” a show featuring stories about Middle Eastern women. For more information go to
Committee members include Terri Kravetz, Linda Hoffman and Susan Fine.
Busy winter for the Sherwins
For Daniel and Blanca Sherwin and their families, this Chanukah was not only a celebration of lights this winter but also a celebration of the two lives that came into theirs. The arrival of twin boys, Seth Isaac and Matthew Louis, on Nov. 30 ushered in a month of celebration. Blanca delivered her dos candelitas just before Chanukah’s ocho
Earlier that month, on Nov. 16, the Texas A&M University Texas Engineering Extension Service program along with the Mansfield Police Department honored Blanca for being an “Outstanding Instructor.” She is a commissioned peace officer and state certified instructor with the Texas Commission of Law Enforcement, Officer Standards and Education. Her award was sponsored by U.S. Senator John Cornyn, who provided the grant for training, and presented by Director Tom Sheehan of the Texas Engineering Extension Service. Blanca is recognized for providing outstanding training in Spanish for emergency responders and delivering the course to over 800 police officers in the state of Texas. She set up 44 classes throughout Texas. The training has helped police officers learn Spanish and understand the Hispanic community.
As if that wasn’t enough to celebrate, Dan Sherwin was promoted to patrol sergeant by the Mansfield Police Department on Dec. 12. The winter celebrating continued with the brit milah of Matthew and Seth on Dec. 23. Rabbi Alberto Zeilicovich of Congregation Ahavath Sholom officiated and Dr. Al Faigin, president of Ahavath Sholom, was honored as the mohel. The ceremony concluded with a beautiful poem by proud Bubbe Felice Sherwin and a song dedicated to Matthew and Seth by their aunt, Hazzan Robbi Sherwin of Austin. Blanca presented handmade coffee mugs with actual prints of the twins’ feet on them to Richard Ondrizek, M.D. of Burleson, Al Faigin, D.O. of Fort Worth, Dr. Gwen Tang of Arlington, Kevin Doody, M.D. of Bedford and Dr. Carole Rogers of Jewish Family Services in Fort Worth. Blanca recognized all the doctors for having a part in the healthy development and delivery of Matthew and Seth.
Happily kvelling over the twins are grandparents Ken and Felice Sherwin of Fort Worth, and Margo and Cliff Constable of Willow Park.
For more information on Spanish courses or classes, go to Blanca’s Web site,
Bogarts in the news
My friend Herbie Bogart tells me that he and Libby made it to their 25th anniversary last Nov. 20; daughter Erin had a second son, James Elliot Scott, last August; and daughter Shawn has moved to Austin and is head cookie decorator for a notable bakery by the name of Quack’s. Shawn has been mentioned in two recent news articles. She was written up in the Austin paper last October for her Halloween cookies, and then again on an Austin American Statesman blog for her election cookies. She is also making cookies for an Obama campaign event sponsored by a women’s group that supports him.
The Austin American Statesman Feb. 19 edition said:
“Shawn Blythe and Art Silver show off the cookies that are serving as ballots in a Hillary/Obama cookie poll being conducted at Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery in Hyde Park. If you like Hillary, you buy a cookie with an H, and if you favor Obama, you buy the O cookie. Blythe, the bakery’s cookie decorator, said that, as of Tuesday afternoon, Obama had a 37-21 cookie lead. Silver, who owns the bakery, says they’re just doing this for fun. There is, however, a cookie poll tax. Each cookie costs $1.50. Vote early and often, and don’t forget to wash it down with milk.
“‘Political shortbread cookies, Hillary or Obama, your choice $1.50,’ says the sign in the cookie case. You’ve got cookies decorated with red or blue H’s or O’s. You vote by buying cookies. The poll started Monday.
“‘We did it really as a fun thing to generate some interest,’ said Art Silver, the bakery’s owner, who isn’t leaning one way or another. ‘We haven’t heard anything negative, and this is an opinionated neighborhood. So if they don’t like something, they’ll let you know.’”
Ahavath Sholom donor dinner a success
The Ladies Auxiliary of Congregation Ahavath Sholom held a very successful donor dinner Friday evening, Feb. 15. Suzie Humphries, a noted Texas celebrity, entertained the audience with anecdotes about her life. She was warm, funny and totally delightful. The Mediterranean-themed dinner, prepared by the hard-working kitchen crew, was delicious. The courses never ended. The dolmas, hummus, soup, kabobs, baked apples, baklava, etc., were all wonderful. For those who requested recipes, they are in the process of being copied and will be made available in the near future. Many thanks to volunteers Elsie Blum, Rose Sankary, Bessie Bodzy, Diane Oberstein, Bootsie Coggan and Graciela Zeilicovich. Their cooking skills and dedication to CAS seem to know no bounds! Thanks also to Maria Loya for her hard work. The new table linens were a beautiful addition and added to the ambience of the Brachman Parlor. Thanks to all for making the event a success.
Jewish soul music
Rabbi Moshe Cotel, who will be presented in “A Jewish Life at the Classical Piano” concert at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, is a composer/pianist who presents an uplifting, unique mix of classical piano and personal stories. His is unlike any other performance work, sermon or lecture. Rabbi Cotel draws you into his lessons as a masterful storyteller and artist. His presentation is humorous and uplifting. The companion piece to each lesson serves as a reflective pond that embellishes the meaning of the lesson. The music content mirrors each lesson. The accompanying piece is not an afterthought but is equal and integral to the lesson.
Cotel has received annual ASCAP awards since 1975 and is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. His works have been produced by major performance organizations in the United States, as well as foreign agencies including Radiotelevisione Italiana and the Israeli Broadcasting Authority. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants such as National Endowment for the Arts, American Music Center and Meet the Composer, and his works have been played and broadcast throughout the world. His music has been published by Transcontinental Music and Israeli Music Institute as well as Midbar Music Press, his own imprimatur. For many years he was chair of the Composition Department of the Peabody Conservatory of Music of Johns Hopkins University. He has been listed in “Who’s Who in American Music,” “International Who’s Who in Music” and “Who’s Who in World Jewry.”
A dessert reception will follow the concert. A $3 donation will be appreciated. Children are free.
This event is co-sponsored by Congregation Ahavath Sholom, the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, and Rose and Al Sankary.
Rabbi Cotel will also perform in Dallas on March 1 at 5 p.m.
Beth-El to feature three thought-provoking, entertaining, dynamic speakers on Live from NY’s 92nd St. Y
Beth-El Congregation is pleased to announce the continuation of the Live from NY’s 92nd Street YTM program series for the Tarrant County community. The satellite broadcast program series features engaging, candid and provocative interactive discussions with today’s most compelling leaders, artists and authors. This spring’s speakers are no exception. Each program will feature a speaker and discussion from the local area immediately following the broadcast. And if the speakers are not enough to entice you, a delicious dessert buffet will be served during each program. A $3 suggested donation is appreciated and all are welcome. This program is made possible though the generous support of Beth-El Congregation and the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County.
Starting on March 4 at Beth-El is nationally-syndicated radio talk show host Dennis Prager, described in the Jewish Week as “one of the three most interesting minds in American Jewish life.” Prager offers compelling arguments in favor of Judaism, developed over many years of speaking to people from virtually every religion and culture. A popular radio talk show host since 1982, he is the author of “The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism,” “Why the Jews?” “The Reason for Anti-Semitism” and “Happiness Is a Serious Problem.” He has been a columnist for Moment magazine for 20 years. Mort House, executive director of Jewish Federation of FWTC, will lead a post-broadcast discussion.
When she speaks on April 8 at Beth-El, political commentator Cokie Roberts will describe remarkable women who helped build our nation by facing challenges and becoming reformers and advocates for education, orphans and abolition. Roberts and her husband Steve write a weekly column syndicated in newspapers across the country. Her books “From This Day Forward,” which she co-wrote with her husband, and “We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters” were best-sellers.
Federation Director Mort House said, “We are excited to have Katie Sherrod, an independent writer, producer and commentator based in Fort Worth, to lead our post-discussion. Sherrod has won several awards in newspapers, radio and TV, including the Dallas Press Club Award for her 2001 PBS documentary “Freedman’s Cemetery Memorial: A Place of Healing,” narrated by Alfre Woodard, and the Exceptional Media Merit Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus. She was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 1987 for outstanding contributions in the field of communications, and named one of Fort Worth’s Outstanding Women in 1988 and Texas Woman of the Year in 1989.
Norman Lear, the creator and producer of Emmy Award-winning television series “All In the Family,” “Maude,” “Sanford and Son” and “The Jeffersons,” will be a Fort Worth guest on April 28. Lear is a pioneer of a genre of programming that addresses pressing social issues with unusual candor. He is the founder and chairman of Act III Communications, a multimedia holding company with interests in the recording, motion picture, broadcasting, publishing and licensing industries. In 1980, Lear formed People for the American Way, which defends constitutional freedoms.
Beth-El is proud to welcome two-time Emmy-Award winning writer, Richard Allen, to lead the discussion after the broadcast. Allen also serves as professor and chair of radio-television-film at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. The recipient of Emmy Awards in 2001 and 2002 as associate writer for CBS’s daytime drama, he is also a three-time Writers Guild Award nominee, and winner of a Soap Opera Award, a Media Access Award and the Environmental Media Award.
You can be part of the discussion. Experience community, here and nationally. Learn, listen and question. Together, we are one community dedicated to strengthening Jewish education.
Beth Shalom golf tournament April 29 to benefit Komen Foundation
Scott Sherwin is a proud member of Congregation Beth Shalom in Arlington and serves on its board. Scott tells the TJP: “One of Judaism’s primary requirements is to the devotion of helping those in need through tzedakah (derived from the Hebrew tzedek, meaning “justice” or what is right). So, what better choice than devoting our efforts by way of the Susan G. Komen Foundation? To that end, we are sponsoring a golf tournament on April 29 at Mansfield Country Club. Though you may be involved or participating in other worthwhile events, there are still ways you can participate and support Beth Shalom’s worthy project.
“You might consider playing or gathering others for Shalom’s first-ever benefit golf tournament ($75 per player). Or, you could be a sponsor or a contributor.
“April 7 is the deadline for enrollment and contributions.”
‘JCC Without Walls’
The week of Feb. 3–10 was full of exciting speakers and activities for the “JCC Without Walls” program. On Monday, Feb. 4, David Saul talked to a group of 20 people about “The Split Between Early Christianity and Judaism.” The next evening, Sara Pirzadeh explained “Hereditary Cancer in the Jewish Population: What You Need to Know” to a small group. On Feb. 6, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker spoke to a group of 15 about “Proving The Bible Through Archaeology or the Development of the Alef-Bet.” Also on Wednesday, Dr. Carole Rogers and Lynell Bond gave “Tips for The Sandwich Generation” to an intimate group. On Feb. 7, Rabbi Sidney Zimelman led 25 people in a discussion about “A Page of Talmud: Unraveling Its Mysteries.” Lastly, on Sunday, Feb. 10, over 30 people gathered to cheer on David Narrett and Louise Vermillion as they competed in “Are You Smarter than a Fifth-Grade Hebrew Student?” hosted by Steve Karten. Seven fifth-graders — Hannah Stansbury, Amanda Leventhal, Sarah Silverberg, Molly Karten, Aaron Lax, Ariella Listig, and Mallory Kleinman — helped both contestants to win an imaginary $1,000,000! Fun was had by all.
It was an informative and entertaining week. The events took place at Beth-El, Ahavath Sholom and Beth Shalom and involved participants from all of Tarrant County. It was truly a community-building experience. One program did have to be canceled — “Great Chefs of Tarrant County.” If you are interested in participating as a “chef” (if you like to cook and share your recipes with others), contact Mona Karten at the Federation at 817-569-0892. They may be able to put on this program later in the year.
This special event was sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County.
50th anniversary celebration of Van Cliburn’s win at the first Tchaikovsky Competition
The Van Cliburn Foundation has announced plans to honor pianist Van Cliburn on the 50th anniversary of his historic win at the first International Tchaikovsky Competition, which was held in Moscow in 1958 at the height of the Cold War. Cliburn’s anniversary will be celebrated on the great lawn of the Kimbell Art Museum on Saturday, March 1. United States President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin have both agreed to act as honorary chairmen for the gala event.
Van Cliburn was 23 when he traveled to Moscow to participate in the International Tchaikovsky Competition. Despite Cold War tensions, the Russian people received his performances with overwhelming enthusiasm throughout. His final round concert on April 11, 1958, included the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 and the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3. The international audience included Queen Elisabeth of Belgium and her daughter, Marie José, the last Queen of Italy, seated in the imperial box.
The awards were presented by Dmitri Shostakovich on April 14, and Van Cliburn received the coveted gold medal. Premier Nikita Khrushchev himself gave permission for the Soviet judges to award the first prize to Van Cliburn; even though he was an American, they considered him to be the best pianist.
At home, the victory was celebrated throughout the United States, and included the only New York ticker-tape parade ever bestowed on a classical musician, as well as the May 19, 1958, cover of Time magazine. Shortly thereafter,. Cliburn’s recording of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 became the first classical LP in history to sell more than one million copies.
Van Cliburn has played for every U.S. president in office since 1958. Most famously, in 1987, he was invited to perform at the White House for Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev during their summit meeting to sign the INF Treaty. After the state dinner, he played a formal recital in the East Room, and for his last encore he surprised the political adversaries by playing “Moscow Nights” and singing along with the Soviet president and his wife. Columnist George Will stated that the day would be remembered as “the day the Cold War was lost.”
Cliburn’s position as unofficial cultural ambassador between East and West is further evidenced by the acceptance of Presidents Bush and Putin to serve as honorary chairmen of this year’s historic celebration. In 2003, when Cliburn was honored with the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, Bush cited his contributions as an artist and unofficial ambassador for the United States, stating that he had “the continued respect of [his] peers and the lasting admiration of the American people.” Putin awarded Cliburn the prestigious Russian Order of Friendship in 2004 as “an acknowledgment of [his] major personal contribution to the development of Russian-American cultural ties.”
The gala celebration on the Kimbell lawn will be held in a conservatory-inspired custom tent, boasting red carpet, chandeliers, damask linens and large floral arrangements to replicate the décor found in one of Russia’s Grand Palaces. Former President and Mrs. George Herbert Walker Bush, former President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton, Mrs. Tricia Nixon Cox, Mr. David Eisenhower and Mrs. Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Mrs. Gerald Ford, Ms. Luci Baines Johnson, Mrs. Ronald Reagan and Mrs. Lynda Johnson Robb will make the Presidents’ Honor Circle a distinctive part of the March 1 event.
“I am grateful for the honor my many friends of long standing have bestowed upon me in their desire to remember this 50th anniversary,” Cliburn remarked. “I vividly recall the details of my first trip to Russia as if it were yesterday. It has always been my feeling that great music evokes the same deeply felt emotions that run through all human beings: Americans, Russians and people of the rest of the world. Classical music truly is universal.”
Inspired by Cliburn’s extraordinary dedication and artistry, a group of Fort Worth music teachers and private citizens established the Van Cliburn Foundation and International Piano Competition in 1962. The competition is held every four years and is the most visible expression of the Van Cliburn Foundation’s commitment to the highest standards of musical achievement. Today, the competition is regarded as one of the world’s pre-eminent musical events. Continuing Van Cliburn’s legacy of tireless musical outreach worldwide, the Van Cliburn Foundation arranges for its winners to perform hundreds of engagements throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. It produces nationally and internationally broadcast television documentaries and syndicated radio programs, and streams the entire competition live on the Internet.
Around the Town
Tamás Ungár
FW Symphony a success at Carnegie Hall
One of my very good friends filled me in on the recent highly successful performance of the Fort Worth Symphony’s concert at Carnegie Hall in the Big Apple. The event was very well supported locally, with some 800 tickets purchased by Fort Worthians.
Among those at the Saturday evening performance were Gail Granek, Roz Rosenthal and granddaughter Ashlie and her fiancé, Mary Frances Antweil with her daughter, Julie Silverman of Albuquerque, N.M., and son and family Mark and Suzie Antweil and their daughter, Elexa, of Larchmont, N.Y. Julie, by the way, who had dinner with former ourtowner Becky Victor, brought personal greetings to Becky’s many friends here. Also Melinda and John Hayden (she’s the daughter of Sylvia and Al Wexler, and is a member of the FW Symphony staff). Others were Ellen and Bernie Appel, Marvin and Laurie Blum and daughter, Lizzie, a student at New York University. Marvin is a member of the Symphony board. Also New Yorkers, Michael and Natalya Gilbert, son and daughter-in-law of Cynthia and Burton Gilbert. The young Gilberts were concert guests of grandmother, Sara Betty Gilbert, who will celebrate her 90th birthday in March.
On Sunday, the Fort Worth Symphony performed the much loved “Peter and the Wolf” narrated in both Spanish and English by acclaimed actor John Lithgow. Glimpsed in the audience were Roz, Billy and Rosanne Rosenthal, Gail Granek and Leslie and James Gurland and their 5-year-old son, Ari, who is a special favorite of his Fort Worth “Tante” Dr. Carole Rogers. Welcome guest at the Rogers home earlier this week was mom, Anita Dellal of West Orange, N.J.
Suzie Humphrey on Ahavath Sholom schedule this Friday night
We mentioned last week that the dedicated trio of amazing women, Natalie Cohn, Hanna Hochster and Pearl Rubin, will be honored for their long association with the CAS Gift Shop at the Ladies Auxiliary Donor Dinner this Friday night following 6 p.m. Shabbat services at Ahavath Sholom. The program will also include the very talented and popular Suzie Humphrey, who during her 20 years as a radio and television talk show host has hobnobbed with movie stars and politicians and interviewed the great and “near-great.” One of her greatest accomplishments is that she is a breast cancer survivor and has helped other women go through the journey as she did. Late reservations can possibly still be made with Linda Lavi.
‘Daytimers’ to hear Tamás Ungár
The “Daytimers” are looking forward to a performance by pianist Tamás Ungár, executive director of Piano Texas Festival and member of the TCU piano faculty. The program is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 20, at noon, at Beth-El Congregation.
Dr. Ungár will give the “Daytimers” an intimate look behind the scenes to learn how he and his students prepare for a performance. He has earned worldwide acclaim for his powerful performances and innovative programming. A regular guest artist at numerous music centers in the United States, he also performs and teaches frequently all over the globe. Some of the highlights of recent seasons include performances with the Sacramento Symphony Orchestra, performing as soloist/conductor of Mozart piano concertos at the University of Leeds as artist-in-residence and a return visit to present a solo recital and master class series at the Liszt Academy in Budapest; and this time he is performing for “Daytimers.”
In addition to his performing commitments, Tamás Ungár has become one of United States’ best-known and most respected teachers of the piano. As founder and executive director of the TCU/Cliburn Piano Institute and member of the TCU piano faculty, he attracts students from across America and as far afield as Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Korea, Hungary, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Republic of Georgia, Singapore, Russia and Taiwan. His students have received prizes in national and international competitions, and have performed in prestigious music centers.
Dr. Ungár studied with Alexander Sverjensky at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music; with Lajos Hernádi at the Liszt Academy, Budapest; and with György Sebök at Undiana University, where he earned his D.M. As the first performing musician ever to receive the coveted British Leverhulme Fellowship, he served as artist-in-residence at York University during the 1984–85 season. Dr. Ungár records exclusively for CALA Records. The “Daytimers” committee is indebted to Roz Rosenthal for arranging for this outstanding educator and performer.
Lunch at $8 per person will be catered by Potbelly Sandwich Works. Guests have a choice of turkey breast, pizza sandwich (marinara, provolone, mushrooms), or tuna salad and Swiss. All are on whole-wheat bread with chips and cookie, coffee or tea. Or guests may attend for just the program for $3.
For reservations for “Daytimers” events, call Barbara Rubin, 817-927-2736, or Sylvia Wexler, 817-294-1129, or checks can be mailed to Daytimers, Jewish Federation, 4049 Kingsridge Road, Fort Worth, TX 76109. The Sylvia Wolens “Daytimers” is a program of Congregation Beth-El with financial support from the Jewish Federation.

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