Around the Town with Rene

FWFTY teens do mitzvot
on the fifth night of Chanukah
Beth-El’s FWFTY teens shopped for and made dinner for 10 teens at The Bridge Emergency Youth Shelter at the All Church Home in Fort Worth on Dec. 25. The Bridge is the only shelter in Tarrant County exclusively serving youth ages 10–17. In addition to making the meal, FWFTY served the shelter teens and staff. Pictured at right are (l-r): Natalie Kahan, Stephanie Mintz, Emily Englander, Matt Beldon, Shelby Roberts, Ben Cristol, Emily Shelby, Bessie Bronstein, Zach Beldon, Rick James, Dylan Shelby, Laurie James, Jacob Bustillos and Erika Shelby. Not pictured are Stella Bronstein (hiding behind the wall) and Scott Sloter (who took the photo).
Andrew Wayne is the Cook Children’s Hospital super-hero
For long years, it’s been my good fortune to enjoy glancing through sister publications from around the country as well as looking through local brochures and other publications. I did a double-take when I saw the following in the recent issue of the Cook Children’s Hospital magazine. It relates to Andy Wayne, son of Horty Deifik. With the permission of Cook’s, we’re happy to share it with our readers.
“Yes, there is a Santa Claus
“You have probably heard of Bruce Wayne, the alter ego of Batman, but have you heard of Cook Children’s version of a super-hero, Andrew Wayne? Our Wayne works for RE/MAX and is a certified real estate coach, ethics and legal instructor who lives in Colleyville and has lived in Northeast Tarrant County for over 40 years. He started playing Santa on a whim. He has taken his portrayal of the jolly fellow to a new level. What started as a favor to a friend is now a unique fundraising effort for Cook Children’s.
“Wayne was first asked to ‘play’ Santa for a small group of kids 12 years ago. His friend had a helicopter and flew him to an airplane hangar for the party. When they opened the hangar door 700 smiling faces looked up and started shouting “Santa, Santa” and he was hooked. After five or six years and many people asking him how they could repay him for his time, he came up with the idea to support his favorite cause — Cook Children’s.
“Now when he receives a request to put on the suit, Wayne asks that the individual or family make a donation to Cook Children’s. Last year Wayne raised $61,000 as Santa. That’s some present. In total Wayne is responsible for thousands more dollars given to support the hospital.
“Donning the gear over the years has brought a lot of joy to Wayne’s life. ‘I have a passion for doing this,’ Wayne said. And it’s not just for children’s parties. Every year Wayne also visits a senior center holiday party. Last year a lady came to sit on Santa’s lap and told him she hadn’t visited with Santa in 50 years. Wayne didn’t miss a beat, ‘Well, I’ve missed you.’ They both got teary-eyed.
“When asked what Santa wanted for Christmas this year Wayne replied, ‘He wants to make sure all children have the ability to access premier health care. Santa doesn’t want any child to suffer. We can’t take away all of the pain but we can make certain to bring a little joy and hope to sick kids and their parents.’
“Andrew Wayne certainly exemplifies the true giving spirit. Paraphrasing from the famous lines penned by Francis Church: ‘Yes, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus.’ And at Cook Children’s, we agree.
“For information about Santa visits, you don’t even have to call the North Pole; Santa’s local number is 817-366-6523.”
Accolades to Andy Wayne for the many mitzvot he performs and cherishes. We share the pride of his proud mom, Horty Deifik.
JCRS, aided by Federation, helps kids, gets thanks
Another good deed performed by our community was for the Jewish Children’s Regional Service, which received an allocation of $10,000 from the Jewish Federation’s 2008 campaign. Among other things provided by JCRS, 393 JCRS camp aid recipients attended 42 different Jewish overnight camps; 29 children and youth from Tarrant County received some sort of financial aid from JCRS last year. JCRS was one of 45 recipient agencies of the Annual Campaign of the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. The following letter is one of many communications received by the JCRS from a grateful recipient.
“To our Friends at JCRS,
“First and foremost, let me say thank you for all the help all of you have extended to my children. You are planting seeds, watering seedlings and young trees, nurturing our Jewish youth with the love for our people, our heritage and Israel. Both of my children came home last summer from camp full of excitement, joy and touching stories of Jewish friends, Jewish events and Jewish fun. In addition they were both soooo surprised and happy with the Chanukah presents you sent this year. This is all thanks to you; you are making these incredible blessings happen in each child’s life.
“My children’s father committed suicide a few years ago, and their wounds run deep. Our financial hardships are steep; I am continuously struggling and am not in good health. My children are innocent souls in dire need of your help. I beg you to continue with your support and mitzvot. With your help, my children are learning to have trust in HaShem, to know who they are and to have the strength to go on.
“I thank you with all my heart and tears for your hard work, your continuous support and incredible dedication to our Jewish children.
“G-d bless you,
“/s/ a Mom (mother of two children under the age of 12)”
Steven M. Berk returns to speak on Iran, Jan. 21
Because of his overwhelming welcome and success at his last appearance in Fort Worth, the Larry Kornbleet Memorial Scholar-in-Residence will bring international scholar, Steven M. Berk, back to Fort Worth on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Ahavath Sholom.
Berk will speak on “From Persia to Iran, From Cyprus to Ahmadinejad: Iran, The Jews and the World.”
It can be said that the Persians saved the Jewish people for history. Even in the modern period, Iran had a beneficial relationship with the state of Israel. Today, however, the Islamic Republic constitutes an existential threat to the very existence of Israel.
The program is free to all. Babysitting is available for children 4 and under by reservation only. For babysitting reservations or more information, please call the Federation office at 817-569-0892. The event is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County with financial support from the Kornbleet Scholar-in-Residence Endowment Fund.
A dessert reception will follow.

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