Around the Town with Rene

Quality Hill Holidays include old-time Chanukah display
Imagine that it is winter in the earliest years of the 1900s, and your family is invited to two holiday parties in Fort Worth’s poshest neighborhood, “Quality Hill.” Horse-drawn carriages connect the two historic mansions, adorned in their elegant holiday decorations.
Historic Fort Worth, Inc.’s Quality Hill Holidays presentation of “A Cattle Baron’s Christmas” will be held at Thistle Hill, 1509 Pennsylvania; and “Hanukkah: Yesterday and Today” will be held at the Mitchell-Schoonover House–Law Office of Art Brender, 600 Eighth Ave. Both landmarked properties were designed by the talented architectural firm of Sanguinet & Staats: Thistle Hill in 1904 and the Mitchell-Schoonover House in 1907. The event is set for this Sunday, Dec. 14, from 2 to 6 p.m., at both locations.
Judy Cohen is Hanukkah Heritage chair for Sunday’s gala holiday celebration while Marsha Hodges is Christmas Heritage chair. Sponsor is Brite Divinity School; Media Sponsor is WRR Radio; and Location Sponsor, Law Office of Art Brender. Others are Holiday Tradition ($500): Greta and David M. Beckerman, Dr. and Mrs. Donald M. Cohen and Roz Rosenthal; Holiday Song ($150): Ellen and Bernie Appel, Mr. and Mrs. Rush Hart, Eileen and Mort House, Randee and Jeff Kaitcer, Susan and Steve Kline, Dr. Stan and Marcia Kurtz, Dr. Harvey and Roz Micklin and Susan Murrin Pritchett. Judy’s stellar assisting committee also includes Amy and Steven Cohen, Elizabeth Cooper, Rachel Cristol, Phyllis Fenton, Carol Kline, Jane Oderberg and grandsons Joshua and Zachary Oderberg, Gail Roberts and daughters Shelby and Francesca, Barbara Schuster, Cathy Walensky and Judy Weinstein, plus another Historic Fort Worth member, Leeann Anderson and her teenage daughter Callie and friends Chad Werner, Daniel Grauerholz, Oliver Archibald and Deborah Zaragoza.
Within the beautifully decorated Hanukkah House, “Hanukkah: Yesterday & Today” explains the history of the Festival of Lights and its celebration around the world since the second century BCE. Members of the Fort Worth Jewish community have generously loaned antique and contemporary menorahs and dreidels — their family heirlooms — to create a spectacular and varied display. An elegant Chanukah dinner party table will be set (with antique china, crystal and silver) to portray today’s family observance of Chanukah in the home. There will be Chanukah music and a story, dreidel games, traditional refreshments and goodie bags for the children.
Admission fees are: adults, $15; children 6–12, $7; cherubs 5 and under, FREE. The Press Pass will be accepted for a 50 percent discount on two adult tickets.
Judy hopes everyone will come and join in this first Hanukkah House presentation. With a contribution of $150, a donor receives two free tickets.
Tarrant County community Chanukah celebration, Dec. 21
Tarrant County Jewry will celebrate Chanukah at a community celebration on Sunday, Dec. 21, at Congregation Ahavath Sholom. Festivities will start at 5 p.m. with a community menorah lighting at the Federation building and Ahavath Sholom. A community musical, program and play, featuring the religious schools of Beth-El and Ahavath Sholom, Cantors Javier Smolarz and Sheri Allen, and N’shot HaKafar (the Beth-El Choir) is set for 5:30 p.m.
A holiday dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.
Admission is $5 for adults, $2.50 for children ages 3–12, free for children under 3.
RSVPs should be made to the Federation office at 817-569-0892 by Dec. 15.
The event is brought to you by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County with financial support from the Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation.
JFS Basket Drive helps
the less fortunate
Do you know that Jewish Family Services’ Chanukah Basket Drive started 15 years ago when Etta Korenman’s mother, the late Maddie Joseph, decided it would be a wonderful mitzvah and act of tzedakah to prepare Chanukah baskets for those less fortunate in the community? Since then the program has grown by leaps and bounds. This year JFS is helping 73 people: 45 seniors, 18 children and 10 adults. Beverly Ross, JFS chair, is coordinating the entire effort. Approximately 50 people, including two dinner clubs, are sponsoring the baskets. Hedy Collins, senior program director, is working with her dinner group, the Menorah Club, and shopping for nine children and two adults. Cynthia Gilbert, JFS committee member, has gotten her supper club to adopt four children. Carole Rogers, JFS director, talked to Cynthia’s group about what these families struggle with, when the group met at Hedary’s on Dec. 3 to wrap the gifts.
A year ago Hedy suggested asking recipients to fill out a “wish list” to give JFS ideas of what they wanted. This was really helpful as everyone one put down practical items that they really needed. For example, blenders so they could puree their food that was hard to eat, toaster ovens to make it easier to cook, vacuums and clothes, were typical requests. However, one person asked for a printer cartridge and another asked for batteries. And three parents said, “I don’t need anything … as long as you can help me with my kids that would be great.”
In addition to the items, the seniors will receive a $36 gift card for Kroger’s. All of them use this to help pay for their medicines.

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