Around the Town with Rene

Widowed Persons Service can help
I am indebted to Corrine Jacobson for telling me about Ellie Carey, chairman/facilitator of the Outreach Program for Widowed Persons Service of Tarrant County. While I hope that my readers will not need to avail themselves of her valuable service for long years, she is a woman worth knowing. Corrine writes:
“As we begin the New Year, we are told how important it is that as Jews, we live tikkun olam, perfecting the world. This description of how to live fits 80-year-old Ellie Carey and her lifestyle to a ‘T.’
“When you attend a class of people training to be grief facilitators for one of her future classes, she is hugged by everyone. And why, we ask? They have all just finished her course on how to live as a widowed person. Because of Ellie, they felt so confident, they were able to tackle the job of training others in the outstanding programs offered by Widowed Persons Service.
“In 1979, a Widowed Persons Service was organized in Fort Worth and surrounding communities. The lifeline of the program is the trained volunteer outreach service that provides direct support to the newly widowed through grief support groups and one-on-one contact. Other volunteers participate in the program as board members, in fundraising, office management and many other activities.
“Ellie is a resident of Arlington, and we are so fortunate that after living her childhood in University City in the St. Louis area and her married life in other states, circumstances brought her to our area 40 years ago. She is quietly perfecting the world.
“Ellie has put in over 1,000 hours as a volunteer for WPS. During this time, she has helped write the five-week Sunday afternoon course to help those in mourning. She is one of the most important volunteers Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Widowed Persons Services.
“Her volunteer work is varied, but one of her favorite extras is to represent the Jewish faith at Outreach programs sponsored by the Arlington Daughters of Abraham.
“Luckily, she has children in the Metroplex to fulfill her busy life. Her son, Evan Carey, and his family reside in Plano. Daughters Lori Carey and Cindy Somolovik and their families live in Arlington.
“Ellie is at WPS on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Their locations are 2906 SE Loop 820, Suite A, 817-551-2922 or, in Dallas, 9027 Midway Road, 214-358-4155.
“WPS not only helps the newly widowed to recover from the trauma of a spouse’s death, but also helps them rebuild their lives.
“Margaret Davis, the manager of the facility has been volunteering at WPS for 25 years.”
Tills Library wins accreditation
Did you know that Barbara and Stanley Spiegel of San Antonio memorialized her late parents, Goldie and Joe Tills, with the establishment of the Goldie and Joe Tills Library at their synagogue, Congregation Agudas Achim? The library was named the Joe Tills Library and later, after Goldie’s death, renamed to honor them both. The library, of close to 8,000 books, was recently awarded a certificate of accreditation at the recent 44th annual Association of Jewish Libraries meeting held in Chicago. Lynn Waghalter, librarian for the Tills Library, accepted the award. Barbara and Stanley will come in for their just share of recognition when they are honored at a Library Shabbat at Agudas Achim on Nov. 14.
Community leaders return from training Shabbaton
Mona Karten, Fort Worth United Synagogue Youth Advisor (FWUSY), and officers of the CAS Chapter — President Madison Moses, Social Action/Tikkun Olam Vice-President Stephanie Mintz and Communications Vice-President Carl Karten — are just back from the Leadership Training Institute and Shabbaton program at Greene Family Camp. Although it turned out to be a very wet weekend, nothing could dampen the ruach that the 36 leaders shared with anyone within earshot. They were treated to a special speaker, Adam Harris of AIPAC, and spent the weekend learning about Israel advocacy and leadership skills. They were also excited to hear that the Southwest USY Kallah and Kamp Kadima will be held at Camp Carter, right outside Fort Worth, on the weekend of Oct 22–25. FWUSY will be joined by USYers from all over Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. So, if you think you’re hearing sweet music that weekend, you probably are — it will be the USYers singing Shabbat songs after lunch!
Noted author-broadcaster, Karen Armstrong, to begin TCU’s new lecture series
Karen Armstrong, whose insightful observations of spirituality throughout the world have garnered wide acclaim, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6 in the University Union ballroom at TCU, 2901 Stadium Drive. Her topic is “Religion in an Age of Terror: Perils and Possibilities.”
She is the first guest for the Daryl D. Schmidt Lectureship on Religion in Public Life, recently established by the TCU Religion Department in memory of a longtime colleague. Ms. Armstrong and the late Dr. Schmidt often spoke at the same scholarly conferences and were united in their desire to promote and raise religious literacy.
A full-time writer and broadcaster since 1982, Ms. Armstrong is the bestselling author of 15 books, including “Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet” (1991), “A History of God” (1993), “Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths” (1996), “The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions” (2006) and “The Bible: A Biography” (2007). Her work has been translated into 45 languages.
Her newest book, “The Case for God,” to be released in late September, is a nuanced exploration of the part religion plays in human life, past and present.
She has three times addressed members of the United States Congress on religious issues.
Among her American television appearances are the PBS programs “Bill Moyers’ Journal” and “Frontline and Genesis: A Living Conversation.”
She received one of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Awards (Freedom of Worship) in 2008, for her contribution to better understanding among religions in an era of confrontation and violence.
She is currently at work on a worldwide inter-religious Charter for Compassion that recognizes the Golden Rule as fundamental in all world religions.
Tickets for the lecture are $10 and are available through the Web at For more information, phone 817-257-7440.
The Schmidt Lectureship commemorates the life and work of longtime TCU Religion Department faculty member and chair, Dr. Daryl D. Schmidt, a New Testament scholar who believed that scholars should and can make a difference in society.
A Christian pacifist, Dr. Schmidt was passionately committed to principles of non-violence and social justice. As a public intellectual, he understood the power of religious values and language in the public sphere. And as a Biblical scholar, he was especially adept at communicating to a wide audience — in an intellectually rigorous fashion — the interplay between religious scholarship and the crucial issues of our time. Dr. Schmidt died in 2006.
The Lectureship’s goal — to deepen listeners’ ability to think for themselves about complex and vital matters — is part of the ongoing mission of the Religion Department in the AddRan College of Liberal Arts at Texas Christian University.
The Religion Department fosters an inquiring and critical approach to the study of religion and various religious traditions. More broadly, the department supports the multicultural, ethical and global aspects of the TCU mission by utilizing perspectives from the United States and beyond to study the diversity manifest in the world’s religions.
Beth-El offers adult Hebrew classes
Beth-El Congregation is offering three Hebrew courses for adults on Sunday mornings. All members of the Jewish community are welcome to attend. The classes are made available with support from the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County.
9:30–10:30 a.m. (in Board Room): Hebrew Reading Crash course, level 2 intermediate, for students who have some knowledge of Hebrew reading but would like to strengthen their knowledge will be taught by Bell Marco.
10:30–11:30 a.m. (in Board Room): Hebrew Ulpan, level 3, with Batya Brand is an intensive ìHebrew in Hebrewî language program for adults that rapidly teaches basic Hebrew skills, including speaking, reading, writing and comprehension, for students that can read and write Hebrew.
10:30–11:30 a.m. (in Library): Hebrew Reading Crash Course, level 1, with Charna Blumberg. The course is designed to teach those with no basic knowledge of the Hebrew language, how to read Hebrew in order to be able to read from the siddur and hopefully be inspired to become more involved in Jewish life.
There is a one-time fee of $50.

Leave a Reply