Around the Town with Rene

CAS welcomes Rabbi Gary Perras

Congregation Ahavath Sholom is pleased to welcome Rabbi Gary Perras as rabbi of the congregation. Rabbi Perras, a member of the Rabbinical Assembly with over 40 years of experience in the rabbinate, comes to Fort Worth from Jacksonville, Fla. He will provide spiritual and educational leadership to the members of the congregation, and counsel and guidance to its leadership.
Pirke Avot (1:6) teaches, “Find yourself a teacher; get yourself a friend.” Congregation Ahavath Sholom did both when they engaged Perras as the new rabbi. Rabbi Perras, or “Rav” as he prefers to be called, has only been in town for two weeks and he has already endeared himself to everyone he has met. The feeling in the community is that it is a pleasure to come to the shul and learn from the new rabbi.
On Nov. 6, Rabbi Perras will be honored and officially installed during Shabbat morning services. A special Kiddush luncheon will be provided by Elsie Blum and the CAS Catering Committee and staff in honor of the occasion. The entire community is invited, and this will be a great opportunity for everyone to come and “meet the rabbi.” Hope to see you there.

Comedian lights up Beth-El

If you passed by Beth-El on Sunday, Oct. 17 at about 4:30 p.m., you probably heard raucous laughter coming from the sanctuary. Over 275 members of the Tarrant County Jewish community were being entertained with wonderfully clean and funny jokes by Rabbi Bob Alper. Rabbi Alper, who was a classmate of our Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger, has been doing stand-up comedy for the past 24 years. He can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, has been featured on CNN’s “American Morning” and is the author of the inspirational book, “Life Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This.” Sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County with financial support from the Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation, this community event, planned as a thank-you to its many supporters, was a big success. People came from all over Tarrant County for a great laugh. In addition, the audience brought non-perishable foods as “admission” for the Tarrant Area Food Bank and managed to amass 254 pounds of goods! Thanks go to committee members Karen Anisman, Jill Imber and Renee Pinto for getting the word out and helping to sell Rabbi Alper’s DVDs, 20 percent of the sale of which came back to the Federation.

Naomi Brand appointed as CAS education director

On the heels of engaging a new rabbi, Congregation Ahavath Sholom has more good news to share. Naomi Brand has been appointed education director. Her first task will be to implement an innovative curriculum that has been developed by the Education Committee of the synagogue under the direction of David Saul. After the first several weeks of the program, both parents and students are excited and looking forward to what’s coming next.
One of the changes that Naomi has already implemented is to do away with the afternoon Hebrew classes, replacing them with additional time on the weekends and special Shabbat programming. Another feature of the new curriculum is the use of guest teachers to supplement regular classroom activities.
Naomi’s next project, already in the works, is a ramp-up of adult education programming. Stay tuned, it’s going to be good.

Dr. Maria Sirois returns to ‘continue the journey’

The Hadassah of Fort Worth committee bringing Dr. Maria Sirois back to the community is working tirelessly to make their Nov. 7 event, “A Community-Wide Women’s Celebration II — Continuing the Journey: A Women’s Retreat with Dr. Maria Sirois,” an inspirational and meaningful program for everyone.
Last year Dr. Sirois, an inspirational speaker, seminar leader and author who has worked at the crossroads of wellness, psychology and spirituality for nearly 20 years, left each woman with the understanding of what she most needs to strengthen and nurture her care for herself.
This year the discussion will not only be revisited but continue. Women will learn techniques of how to sustain that care so that they can continue to bring their particular gifts to their family and community.
“Through research and clinical anecdotes, through mindfulness practice and group discussion, we’ll uncover how we build a scaffolding within ourselves from which to thrive, and a connection with each other from which to repair our larger world,” Dr. Sirois explains. “We’ll explore resilience, humor, creativity and the health benefits of understanding how happiness and meaning in life work together.”
So don’t miss out on this unique event. Save the date: Nov. 7 at Mira Vista Country Club from 1 to 5 p.m. Refreshments and light fare will be served. Event tickets are $25. To make a reservation, please contact Randee Kaitcer at 817-377-0505 or e-mail
Committee members include: Ava Beleck, Rhoda Bernstein, Loretta Causey, Elizabeth Cohen, Jane Cohen, Jennifer Daley, Gail Granek, Linda Hochster, Etty Horowitz, Sandy Hollander, Eileen House, Shoshana Howard, Rebecca Isgur, Randee Kaitcer, Karen Kaplan, Marcia Kurtz, Linda Lavi, Susan Luskey, Posy McMillen, Carol Minker, Melissa Morgan, Zoë Stein Pierce, Jennifer Ratner, Naomi Rosenfield, Debby Rice, Dolores Schneider, Louise Vermillion, Laurie Werner and Margie Zentner.

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