Dallas Doings

Welcome home Colten Baitch

The Baitch family is thrilled to have son Colten stateside again. Shown here in 2009 are from left, Asa, Colten, Dr. Larry and Sara Baitch | Photo: Courtesy of the Baitch family

Larry and Sara Baitch are thrilled to report that after 14 months, their son, Colten, returned stateside on June 22 from Afghanistan with the rest of the 1-66 Iron Raiders Brigade. “We are all very grateful to Hashem for his safety and thank all our friends in Dallas for their thoughts, prayers, tehillim and support,” wrote Larry in an e-mail to the TJP. Colten was promoted to Sergeant on his birthday. He came home with a number of commendations and medals for his performance in battle, but he also carries the memories of his comrades who were wounded and killed in action. Colten is a member of the HHC 1-66 attached to the 4th Infantry Division, based in Ft. Carson, Colo. Colten is also the brother of Asa, 22, an Aleksander Chasid, who is a history major in his senior year at the University of Maryland in College Park.

Leo Baeck College picks first woman principal, former Dallasite, Deborah Kahn-Harris

The Leo Baeck College in London, the leading European institution for training Progressive rabbis, has appointed the first woman principal in its 55-year history.
Rabbi Deborah Kahn-Harris, 42, will take over from Rabbi Professor Marc Saperstein, who will retire this autumn after five years at the helm.
Deborah is married to Dr. Keith Kahn-Harris and they have two children, Kobi and Ella.
Deborah grew up in Houston and Dallas and did her undergraduate college studies in the States. Her graduate school at Oxford in Hebrew studies led to her seek admission at Leo Baeck where she studied, graduated, and was ordained. She has actively been a part of the London/British community as a college chaplain, director of Student and Young Adult Work, serving on the rabbinic team at Sha’arei Tsedek North London Reform, teaching at Leo Baeck College, and researching Bible at the University of Sheffield. Kahn-Harris said she was “humbled and thrilled” to lead the college. “It’s an interesting and exciting place with a huge amount of potential,” she said.
After her rabbinic ordination, she served as a Reform university chaplain and director of young adult work before spending time in Jerusalem and Australia.
Her appointment marks a departure for the college not only because she is a woman but she also has congregational experience: Professor Saperstein and his predecessor, Rabbi Professor Jonathan Magonet, were primarily scholars.
Rabbi Kahn-Harris said that one of her goals would be to bring the academic and vocational aspects of Leo Baeck “closer together.” While one of her tasks will be to implement a review of Leo Baeck’s activities, she said its core work would remain in training.
LBC Chairman Alasdair Nisbet said, “Deborah is one of a new generation of leaders of the Progressive Jewish community that was trained at the college. I believe that she is one of the first women to be appointed to lead a rabbinic college anywhere in the world.”
Rabbi Kahn-Harris’s son Kobi and daughter Ella attend Akiva school. Her husband, Dr. Keith Kahn-Harris, is the coauthor of Turbulent Times, a study of modern British Jewry published last year. Deborah is the daughter of Dr. Herb and Joy Weinstein of Dallas.

Friends of IDF holds parlor meeting

The Friends of Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) held a parlor meeting on June 18. Dr. Rami Sagi, a Lt. Colonel with the IDF, came to Dallas to tell his story of the IDF’s medical rescue efforts in Haiti. The meeting was attended by over 30 members of the Dallas community. It introduced the Friends of the IDF organization. The Dallas community has pledged to “Adopt a Battalion” in Israel, providing funds for patch ceremonies, Jewish holidays, and creature comforts to the soldiers of a UAV Squadron of over 500 soldiers. Dr. Sagi spoke of the heroism of the IDF soldiers and the humanitarian efforts all over the world and his personal experiences. For more information on the FIDF, please contact Beth Berk at 214-350-5373 or Lisa Hacker, development logistics director of the FIDF, at 312-372-8500.

Naomi Nason blogs from Mount Scopus

Naomi Nason, daughter of Meryl and Scott Nason, has set up housekeeping on Mount Scopus this summer while attending the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Naomi, a former TJP intern and graduate of Levine Academy and Hockaday will be a junior next year at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Following Israel, Naomi will be off to Beijing, China where she will spend a semester abroad. You can follow Naomi’s Israel adventure at her blog: http://the195.com/northwestern/author/nnason/.

Josh Nason named Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar

Meryl and Scott Nason have more to celebrate as well with son Josh’s recent accolades. Josh has been named as a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar and will be attending Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) beginning in January 2012, where he will be pursuing a Masters Degree in Middle East Studies. Josh graduated from Cornell University in 2008, and has been working for the Zionist Organization of America for the past three years. Josh is currently the managing director for Campus Programs at the Zionist Organization of America. Following the completion of his Master’s Degree, Josh hopes to continue working in Israel Advocacy and strengthening United States-Israel Relations. The fellowship, sponsored by the Wexner Foundation, selects an elite cohort of future Jewish professional leaders each year. Within each class of Fellows, the Wexner Foundation selects a diverse group representing different denominations, different political perspectives, and different sectors of Jewish professional work including Rabbinical students, Cantorial students, Jewish educators, and more. The fellowship will provide a stipend for two years, and all Fellows attend Fellowship retreats each summer and winter for four years.

Buckle-up: your life depends on it

With the Fourth of July just days away and more people heading out on road trips, longtime subscriber Bernie Dworkin is reminding you to buckle up. Bernie contacted the TJP this week with the following message: “How important is the car seatbelt? I found it unhandy when trying to retrieve something from my pocket. Honestly, there were times when I drove without it. Of course, I shouldn’t have been doing anything that would divert my attention from the road.
“I was in route to the VA Medical Center and collided with another car. My car was totaled and subsequently went up in flames. The windshield was lying in front of the car in a multitude of pieces. Had I not been wearing my seatbelt I would have been lying on the freeway with the windshield. I was saved by the seatbelt.
“I don’t have the names of the officers that were investigating the accident but they could not have been nicer nor more considerate or helpful. Same for the firemen and a young lady that tapped on my window and motioned for me, emphatically, to get out of the car just a short time before it burst into flames. I want to thank all of you and remind all drivers for your sake and the sake of others, ‘buckle up’!”

News and notes

Mazel tov to Jordan Cope, Levine Academy graduate and incoming sophomore at Yavneh Academy. Jordan joins Yavneh’s Celebration of Success winners for the 2010-2011 year. Cope, who founded the school’s World Quest chapter of the World Affair Council earned top grades throughout the year, Jordan was the 11th place finalist several years in a row at the State Level National Geographic Bee and intends to take the school to a higher level this year at the World Quest Competition.

Community-wide Scout Caravan performance is July 7

The Israel Scout Friendship Caravan will roll into Dallas July 3 and meet their host families. The Friendship Caravan consists of 5 male and 5 female Tzofim (Israel Scouts) who are entering their senior year of high school. The Caravan travels thoughout North America each summer as emissaries, sharing their lives in Israel through song, dance and story. Participants are chosen after undergoing an extensive auditioning and interviewing process, ensuring that above all, they are true representatives of Israeli culture and spirit.
This year’s community performance will be held at the Aaron Family JCC at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 7. Although there is no charge for the performance, a $5 voluntary contribution is allowed.

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