Around the Town with Rene

Federation receives award for outstanding campaign

Congratulations to our Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, who received the Sapir Award for Campaign Excellence presented by UJC/the Jewish Federations of North America at the 2009 General Assembly in Washington, D.C.
The Sapir Award is UJC/Federation’s highest honor for Federations, recognizing communities that have demonstrated significant achievement in their annual campaigns. The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County was one of 15 Federations to receive the award for its fundraising efforts in the 2008 campaign. The Federation’s Annual Campaign raised $1,009,000 in 2008, a record amount — an especially remarkable achievement given the economic downturn. Annual campaign funds are used to address pressing needs here in Tarrant County, in Israel and across the globe. Some of the charitable agencies that received annual campaign funds include: Jewish Family Services, Jewish Education Agency, Jewish Agency for Israel, Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Jewish Children’s Regional Service, Hillel and Birthright Israel. The Jewish Federation system annually raises nearly $3 billion for campaigns, endowments and foundations that address Jewish needs. The award-winning communities for 2009 are: Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago; Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland; Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit; United Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh; Minneapolis Jewish Federation; Jewish Community Federation of Greater Rochester; Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte; Jacksonville Jewish Federation; Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco counties; Jewish community Federation of Richmond; Augusta Jewish Federation; Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County; Jewish Federation of Tulsa; Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley; and Jewish Federation of Columbus, Ga. The Sapir Award is named for Israel’s third minister of finance, Pinchas Sapir, a Zionist pioneer who helped build the Jewish state.
Eddie Feld was chair of the successful ‘08 campaign.

JFS celebrates Dr. Carole Rogers’ 10 years of service

Jewish Family Services of Fort Worth and Tarrant County continues to have a wonderful year. At the November committee meeting, the organization celebrated Dr. Carole Rogers’ 10th anniversary as the director of Jewish Family Services. A full house was there to honor and thank Dr. Rogers for her years of service. Current committee members in attendance were Howard Bernstein, Mike Blanc, Cynthia Gilbert, Sonia Hecht, Marica Kurtz, Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger, Carol Minker, John Mowry, Alex Nason, Phil Sawyer, Judy Schwartz and Chairperson Susan Luskey. Evelyn Siegel, who left the committee after her six-year tenure ended, was also at the meeting. Susan also invited past chairpersons, Mary Frances Antweil, David Nudleman and Beverly Ross. Along with Susan, the past chairs organized a delectable lunch — David and Susan brought bagels and cream cheese, Beverly fixed an incredible lox tray with all the sides and Mary Frances brought her famous crumb cake and orange juice. The conference table looked fabulous thanks to a beautiful flower arrangement from Elisa Nudleman.
After Susan said words of appreciation, she presented Carole with a beautiful Nambe bowl. Carole thanked the committee and told stories about some funny incidents that have happened through the years. She reviewed the past 10 years with the committee, sharing JFS’s accomplishments including: moving from a trailer to a permanent building, developing a strategic plan for the senior program, hiring a new senior program director, purchasing a van for the senior program and improving both the quality and quantity of services provided. Carole said she was particularly proud of the increased diversity and strength of the JFS committee as well as the development of stronger relationships with staff and members of Congregation Beth Shalom in Arlington and Beth Israel in Colleyville. She also mentioned JFS’s work with Katrina evacuees and the initiation of a Handicapable group as other ways JFS has worked to meet the needs of community members.
Carole thanked the Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County for their continued support of JFS, acknowledging that JFS would not be able to do what it does without the Federation’s support. In fact, the festivities continued after the JFS meeting when Mort House, Federation director, organized a staff luncheon to honor Carole. In addition to Mort and Carole, Barry Schneider (president of the Federation), Mona Karten (program director), Laurie Reese (controller) and Veronica Cabral (bookkeeping assistant) were present. Barry thanked Carole for her years of service and presented her with a plaque, which is now proudly displayed in her office.
The highlight of the day, however, was the presence of Linda Sands, who also served as a chairperson for Jewish Family Services. Linda and her husband, Edward, currently live in Atlanta. Susan Luskey had called Linda to tell her about the 10th anniversary, hoping Linda would send a card or call. Instead, Linda and her husband hopped on a plane that morning and came to Fort Worth! Carole said it was truly the nicest thing anyone has ever done for her. It is also why she loves Fort Worth so much. It may not be the biggest Jewish community but it sure is the most caring.
It’s always a special occasion when Carole can be with her family, and the Thanksgiving holiday weekend was the perfect time for one of their annual get-togethers. Here from their New Jersey homes were her mom, Anita Dellal; twin sister and family, Leslie and James Gurland and their 7-year-old son, Ari; and brother, Kenneth Rogers.

Don’t miss this inaugural event: CAS Film Series starts Sunday

Congregation Ahavath Sholom is excited to announce its 2009–2010 Community Film Series starting Sunday, Dec. 6. There is no charge for the films, and complimentary popcorn and lemonade will be served. The United Synagogue Youth members will be selling drinks and candy bars as well. Come early and nosh with your friends at 2:30. The movie will be shown at 3:30.
The first film, “The Lemon Tree,” described as “a film for all audiences,” won the award for Best Film at the Berlin International Film Festival. A movie directed and supported by both Israelis and Palestinians, “The Lemon Tree” is a shining, courageous and honest step forward for both peoples. It uses the media to support peaceful change rather than selling newspaper space and television time through the blood and tears of those who live among the lemons.
The Ahavath Sholom preview committee has given “The Lemon Tree” a resounding “Five Star of David Award.” Because the film is very thought-provoking and timely in its description of Israel and its neighbors, there will be a facilitated discussion following the film, with Batya Brand leading.
Babysitting requests should be made to Garry Kahalnik, Congregation Ahavath Sholom executive director, at 817-731-4721. The movie is rated parental guidance (PG-13) for viewing.
The Ahavath Sholom Film Series is funded by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County.

Chanukah at Thistle Hill

Corrine Jacobson reminds me that the second observance of Chanukah at Thistle Hill will be celebrated this Sunday, Dec. 6, from 2 to 6 p.m., at the historic old home on Pennsylvania Avenue. You and your family will enjoy music, refreshments, decorations and a wonderful traditional holiday celebration.

Community Chanukah Celebration

Mark your calendar for the Community Chanukah Celebration on Tuesday, Dec. 15.
At 5:30 p.m., the menorah lighting will be held at the Federation building and Congregation Ahavath Sholom. At Beth-El, at 6 p.m., play Maccabee Bingo with great prizes. The 6:30 p.m. dinner will be followed by crafts for the children.
Admission is $5 for adults, $2.50 for children 3–12, free for children under 3.
RSVP to the Federation office at 817-569-0892 by Dec. 7.
The event is brought to the community by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County with financial support from the Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation.

‘Daytimers’ honor World War II vets

A dozen World War II veterans were honored at the November luncheon for “Daytimers” at Beth-El Congregation. Author Bryan Rigg held the group spellbound as he discussed how he came to write one of his books, “Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers: Question of Jewish Identity and Morality.”
Raised as a Protestant in the Texas Bible Belt, Bryan Mark Rigg was surprised to learn of his own Jewish ancestry while researching his family tree in Germany. This revelation, as well as a chance encounter with a Jewish veteran of the Wehrmacht at a Berlin screening of “Europa Europa,” roused him to embark on a decade of research while a student, first at Yale University and later at Cambridge University. “Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military” was the result of his efforts.
Veterans who were honored in a presentation by Edythe Cohen were Tom Bessant, Ken Bobkoff, Bob Clemmer, Joe Coggan, Arthur Hofstein, Frances Kleiman, Herman Morris, Irv Raffel, Dr. Irwin Robinson, Seyman Rubinson, Arnold Schectman and Mort Werner. Rigg was introduced by Kenneth Baum.
He also brought copies of his books “Rescued from the Reich: How One of Hitler’s Soldiers Saved the Lubavitcher Rebbe” and “Lives of Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers: Untold Tales of Men of Jewish Descent Who Fought for the Third Reich,” all of which sold briskly after his talk.
Next event for “Daytimers” will be the Chanukah party on Wednesday, Dec. 16, featuring Darren Woods of the Fort Worth Opera Festival. The party will be a benefit for the Tarrant County Food Bank, and guests are asked to bring canned and packaged goods to help make a holiday for many needy families. Luncheon will be catered by Boopa’s Bagel Deli.
For reservations, call Barbara Rubin, 817-927-2736, or Sylvia Wexler, 817-294-1129, or checks can be mailed to Daytimers, Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth, TX 76109.
The Sylvia Wolens “Daytimers” is a program of Beth-El Congregation with financial support from the Jewish Federation.

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