Around the Town: Selichot, President's Award, photography

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Tarrant County has always been known for its joint Selichot service and this weekend is no different as the county’s three Reform synagogues join to host Alden Solovoy as their Selichot Scholar.
He teaches prayer as a spiritual practice and personal connection with t’fillah. His website is truly inspirational.
The weekend will begin at 7 p.m. at Beth-El in Fort Worth. Shabbat morning services will be held at 10 a.m. at Beth Shalom in Arlington. Finally, Solovoy will be at Selichot services at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5 at Beth Israel in Colleyville.
According to his website, “Alden Solovoy spreads joy and excitement for prayer. A poet and liturgist, his work has been used by people of all faiths throughout the world, in private prayer and public ceremonies. He’s written more than 500 pieces of new liturgy, offering a fresh new Jewish voice, challenging the boundaries between poetry, meditation, personal growth and prayer. He’s a teacher, a writing coach and an award-winning essayist and journalist.
“Alden’s writing was transformed by multiple tragedies, marked in 2009 by the sudden death of his wife from catastrophic brain injury. As a result, he deepened his exploration of meditation, poetry, communal liturgy and personal prayer as a healing, spiritual practice.
“Jerusalem Post called his first book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing, ‘soulful, meticulously crafted.’ It’s been praised by clergy across Judaism and other faiths. Huffington Post Religion said: ‘…the prayers reflect age-old yearnings in modern-day situations.” About his Haggadah Companion: Meditations and Readings, New York Jewish Week declared: “This is Pesach poetry.’
“Alden’s work has been widely anthologized, including: Men Pray (Skylight Paths Publishing), Mishkah R’Fuah: Where Healing Resides (CCAR Press), L’col Z’man Eit: For Sacred Moments, a new Rabbi’s Manual (CCAR Press) and Mishkan Hanefesh, a new machzor (CCAR Press). Alden is a three-time winner of Chicago journalism’s top prize for essay writing. He is the National Havurah Committee’s Liturgist-In-Residence for the 2015 Summer Institute….
“A regular participant in monthly Rosh Chodesh prayer at the Kotel in support of Women of the Wall, Alden was attacked as he defended the right of women to read Torah at the Kotel. Although seriously injured, in My Message to the Man Who Attacked Me at the Kotel Alden says that people should not use his experience as an excuse for hating other Jews.
“A native Chicagoan, Alden made aliyah to Israel in 2012, where he hikes, writes, teaches and learns. He is currently working on two new anthologies. Alden is also working on a mythical journey, told with prayers and poetry, called Song of the Spiritual Traveler. Alden blogs for the Times of Israel and his prayers also appear regularly on His prayers are available at
“Alden holds a B.A. in English composition with a minor in literature from Beloit College, an M.A. in journalism from the University of Illinois-Springfield and an MBA in economics and finance from the University of Chicago. He previously served as executive editor and associate publisher for the Journals of the American Hospital Association.”

Hedy Collins to receive 2015 President’s Award for Service

Hedy Collins, director of the Jewish Family Services’ Daily Senior program, will be recognized on Sept. 25 at the Senior Spirit Awards Luncheon. Hedy serves older adults, many of whom are refugees from Russia, by empowering them to find new friends, improve their health with nutrition and exercise, learn English, and contribute to their community through volunteer service. The President’s Award for Service recognizes Hedy’s “Innovative approaches that improve the health and independence of older adults in Tarrant County.”
If you’d like to attend the Senior Citizen Services Senior Spirit Awards Friday Sept. 25, 11:30-1 p.m., at the Cendera Center, call 817-413-4949 for ticket information.
Congratulations Hedy!

Fort Worth photographer’s Topic is personal for Sept. 29 program about Jewish resilience

Loli Kantor, the Fort Worth-based photo essayist who is a child of Holocaust survivors, will discuss her extraordinarily personal book, Beyond the Forest, Tuesday, Sept. 29, at a World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth program.
The book is described as vividly “exploring the subject of Jewish presence and absence in Eastern Europe.” Kantor’s family became part of the “absence” in Poland and Ukraine. Her parents were among the region’s Jews relocated to concentration camps by the Nazis. A picture Kantor took inside a synagogue in Bershad, Ukraine, more than 60 years after World War II shows just seven people at worship, The caption explains that the Jewish population before the Holocaust was 7,000 and now it is about 50. Yet, tradition survives.
Kantor will discuss her book Beyond the Forest: Jewish Presence in Eastern Europe, 2004–2012, at international architecture firm HKS, Inc., 350 S. Saint Paul St., Suite 100, Dallas, Tuesday, Sept. 29.
The event begins with a 6:30 p.m. reception followed by the 7 p.m. program. Tickets are $15 for Council members, $30 for non-members.
Kantor was born in France, raised in Tel Aviv and, for three decades, has made her home in Fort Worth, working as a fine art photographer and a freelancer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Her work includes Heaven on a Biscuit, a book about the city’s legendary Hip Pocket Theatre. Her photography is in collections around the world including The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Lviv National Museum in Ukraine and the Lishui Museum of Photography in China.
For more information about Council membership or tickets to programs, go to or call 214-965-8400.
Daytimers head to Bush Library
The Daytimers will head to the George Bush Presidential Library Wednesday, Sept. 9 for their monthly meeting. As of press deadline, there were two seats available.
Contact Larry Steckler at 817-927-2736.

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