Around the Town with Rene

SWUSY: Half a century old and it’s still ‘weird’

In 1960 Southwest United Synagogue Youth (SWUSY) was born, and on June 6–9 of this year the group celebrated its half-century mark as the 50th annual regional convention, “Keep SWUSY Weird,” was held in Austin. It was four fun-filled days of ruach, discussion groups, services, crowd surfing, and a ton of weird activities including a toga party and a bubble dance. In attendance were 14 chapters across Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas including local chapters from Fort Worth, Dallas, Richardson and Plano. Belaynesh Zevadia, deputy consul for the Consulate General of Israel to the Southwest, was a featured speaker discussing the rise of ongoing defamation of Israel on U.S. college campuses.
As part of the convention agenda, SWUSY held its regional executive board (REB) elections. It was a historic occasion as the 50th SWUSY board was installed.
SWUSY thanks its 2009-2010 REB: Max Leader (Richardson), president; Jonathan Lipton (San Antonio), programming/Israel affairs VP; Benjamin Goldwater (Richardson), religion/education/culture VP; Josh Plotkin (Oklahoma City, Okla.), membership/Kadima VP; Abby Kitmacher (Clear Lake, Texas), social action/tikkun olam VP; and Debra Goss (Oklahoma City, OK), communications VP.
Congratulations to the 2010–2011 SWUSY REB: Abby Kitmacher (Clear Lake), president; Stephanie Mintz (Fort Worth), programming/Israel affairs VP; Alex Hamilton (Oklahoma City, Okla.), religion/education/culture VP; Elijah Price (Austin), membership/Kadima VP; Maya Hunt (Austin), social action/tikkun olam VP; and Drew Lieberman (Austin), communications VP.
SWUSY invited alumni for the final banquet. Alumni in attendance dated back to the 1970s. Special guests at the banquet were Mueriel Carp, president, Mid-Continent United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), and Joe Mintz, the Southwest Regional Youth Commission Chair.
In its second half-century, the group faces challenges of anti-Israel rallies and extending aid in world crises. Because the Southwest region is small, its strength is in its spirit, which keeps it alive and kicking!

‘Daytimers’ enjoy ‘Kids Who Care’

“Kids Who Care” returned for an encore performance for the “Daytimers” with an all-new show, “District XI – Believe in Me,” a wonderful opportunity for the guests to bring their grandchildren to lunch. Among the grandchildren present were Sonia and Gerry Hecht’s grandson Adrian Roix. Trudy Post’s guests were her son-in-law Rusty Feld and grandchildren Ben and Esther Feld. Steve and Shelly Sternblitz brought their grandchildren, twins Jessy and Hannah, and Dakota Sternblitz. There were also a number of youngsters there brought by the enthusiastic followers of the “Kids Who Care” program. Special guests included Ina and Mike Singer’s daughter from Kansas City, Madelyn Greenberg. This week is the Singer’s 60th Anniversary, and Ina brought chocolate cake for everyone. There was even enough cake for many of the “Kids” in the program to enjoy.
The “Kids Who Care” organization will send eight or nine Israeli exchange students and a chaperon in July to participate in a musical theater program. This represents the 13th summer of exchanges with Israel. The young people are home hosted by volunteers who open their homes and essentially “adopt” the kids for the month of July. Most students pay a tuition that covers camp, cultural activities, lunch daily and medical insurance. Jewish families in Fort Worth who might be interested in hosting an exchange student from Israel can e-mail or call 817-737-5437. The students, ninth- and 10th-graders (mostly girls), will arrive July 5 and depart August 2–3.
Next event for “Daytimers” is the annual movie and ice cream social, Wednesday, July 14, at 1 p.m., featuring the Woody Allen film “Whatever Works.” It is about an eccentric New Yorker played by Larry David who abandons his upper-class life to lead a more bohemian existence. He meets a young girl from the South and her family, and no two people seem to get along in the entanglements that follow. The program includes all the popcorn and ice cream you can eat plus the film for only $5. 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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