Around the Town with Rene

Beth-El Social Action
Committee to show ‘Kansas vs. Darwin’ on Feb. 12
Fort Worth’s Beth-El Congregation will join Jewish and Christian congregations commemorating the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his seminal work “On the Origin of Species” in 1859. Beth-El’s Social Action Committee is sponsoring a showing of the video “Kansas vs. Darwin,” which takes viewers into one state board of education’s challenge of the accepted theory of evolution.
The video and discussion will be on Thursday, Feb. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the Great Hall at Beth-El, 4900 Briarhaven Road in Fort Worth. The event is free of charge, and the community is welcome.
In May 2005, a three-member subcommittee of the Kansas State Board of Education held hearings to determine whether Darwin’s long-held theory of evolution should be challenged in public school science classes. Provided by the Texas Freedom Network, “Kansas vs. Darwin” takes you inside the hearings to meet the characters who captured the world’s attention: school board members who believe their literal interpretation of the Bible trumps modern scientific evidence, and members of the “intelligent design” network who believe mainstream science is conspiring to suppress evidence that would overturn evolution.
You’ll also be introduced to an organization of Kansas’ scientists, educators, and citizens who mobilized a worldwide response to put an end to what they see as religious extremism. The event is being held just before “Evolution Weekend” — a series of interfaith discussions on the topic of science and religion. Religious people from many faiths and locations understand that evolution is sound science, and poses no challenge to their particular beliefs.
New Hillel Conference Room is officially dedicated at TCU
Excitement was in the air as TCU faculty, students, donors, friends and members of Hillel’s Community Advisory Board were on hand for the official dedication of the university’s new Hillel Conference Room at Brown-Lupton University Union, followed by a cocktail reception.
Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger, spiritual leader of Beth-El Congregation, explained the purpose of a mezuzah and then affixed one to the doorpost of the Hillel conference room as the invited guests all joined in reciting the appropriate prayers.
Morty Herman, chair of the Community Advisory Council and the vision behind the conference room with his wife, Dr. Barbara Brown Herman, associate vice chancellor of student affairs at TCU, talked about the genesis of the project and how he and Barbara agreed to match any funds raised for a Hillel Conference Room. Within one week, the money was donated due to the generosity of Shirley Anton; Arnold, Harriette and Iric Gachman; Howard and Joan Katz; Stan and Marcia Kurtz; I. Jack Miller, Jr.; Billy and Rosanne Rosenthal; and Roz Rosenthal.
Additional contributions have been made by Bernie and Ellen Appel, Jerry and Ruth Berkowitz, Irwin and Lea Ann Blum, Jeff and Linda Hochster, Sharon Wisch-Ray and Rene Wisch.
TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. warmly welcomed everyone and gave a special salutation to Morty and Barbara Herman, crediting them for the new conference room and pointing out their dedication and commitment. Acknowledging the room’s bare white walls, Dr. Boschini drew a collective gasp and applause from everyone when he revealed that an anonymous donor had bestowed a $10,000 gift to decorate the room with artwork, to be handled by Dr. Barbara Herman.
The program continued with Alan Feinberg of the Advisory Council and Executive Committee providing a brief history of Hillel and acknowledgment of various advisory members for their event participation, including Jerry Appel and Linda Hochster for spearheading the room dedication and cocktail reception, along with Nancy Madsen and Carrie Moore of TCU’s Donor Relations department. A big thanks to Jane Cohen for her work with the local media.
In another surprise moment, Jerry Appel, also of the Advisory Council and Executive Committee, dropped a congratulatory bombshell from the podium when he announced that Hillel’s student president, senior Belle Marco, was to be the first recipient of a Hillel scholarship. Speechless and with tears of joy and astonishment, Belle graciously accepted the award, as Morty spoke on her behalf and expounded on her tireless efforts in keeping Hillel going with programming and special events. Belle will graduate in May with a B.S. in physics and a minor in biology and mathematics. She plans to attend graduate school to pursue a degree in biotechnology, specializing in gene therapy.
For more information on how you can become involved with TCU Hillel and sponsorship opportunities, contact TCU Hillel Advisor Dr. Arnie Barkman at 817-257-7553; TCU Hillel, TCU Box 29850, Fort Worth, TX 76129.
JFS seniors enjoy the Modern
Hedy Collins, director of the vibrant senior program at Fort Worth’s Jewish Family Services, tells the TJP what a wonderful time the JFS seniors had at the Modern last week. The tour featured Gail Granek as docent, with Gail Berlin and Scott Sturman volunteering to help. The museum was beautiful and Gail did a wonderful job explaining the art. Lunch at the museum was delicious, savored by all. The weather cooperated and the day was enjoyed by everyone that attended. Monday’s schedule included blackjack and Tu B’Shevat, celebrated with lovely decorated containers filled with dried fruits and nuts from the CAS Sunday school children. Pomegranate juice, grapes and special snacks were served. Thanks to the Annette Taylor Fund, the seniors went home with olive oil and honey to celebrate the “Birthday of the Trees.”

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