Dallas Doings

New Jewish Longhorns welcome at Texas Hillel

From left, Simcha McIntosh (Dallas), Jackie Anderson (Houston), Jessica Goodman (Dallas) and Arielle Levy (Waco and Dallas) enjoy a Texas Hillel welcome barbecue.

Timed to coincide with the new student orientations at The University of Texas at Austin, Texas Hillel hosted six festive barbecues on the patio-pavilion this summer. Student intern Brooke Novy was at every orientation organizational fair to make sure that new students and their families know about Hillel. Brooke’s work involves finding and connecting with the hundreds of new Jewish students coming to Austin.
“It is the regular influx of new people and their ideas and interests that keep Hillel dynamic,” said Executive Director Rabbi David Komerofsky. “We’re always looking to find students and get them engaged with their search for community and meaning. Jewish life on campus is fun and enriching because there are so many interesting young people, each with his or her own story.”
The first four big events of the 2011-2012 school year are aimed at reaching large numbers of students so that they can make new friends and find their place among the wide variety of engaging opportunities through Texas Hillel.
The Welcome Back Brunch will take place Aug. 21, followed by the First Shabbat of the Year on Aug. 28, Labor Day Barbecue on Sept. 5 and Freshman Chill on Sept. 8.
New students, returning students and their friends and families are encouraged to check out the Texas Hillel website at www.texashillel.org and to sign up for the e-newsletter and get involved.

Florence Shapiro named top legislator

Texas state senator Florence Shapiro (R-District 8) has been named one of the most outstanding legislators of the past decade by Austin-based Capitol Inside, a publication which closely follows Texas politics. Shapiro was named to the Texas Senate 2000’s list and is one of only 10 members to be selected.
As the publication noted, its criteria for the “all-star roster for the most recent decade is based on [their] Best of the Legislature series selections for the past five regular sessions and two landmark special sessions on school finance and taxes in 2005 and 2006.”
Shapiro said of her selection to the list, “It is an honor to be recognized in this way, but this is much bigger than me. I have had the privilege of working with many wonderful colleagues over the past decade who’ve shared the same goals of improving and reforming public education, establishing the conditions that make Texas a jobs-creation center, and reining in runaway government spending by supporting programs that work and eliminating those that don’t. This has been a team effort.”

Camp Shemesh teaches students to honor nation’s military

Camp Shemesh, one of Levine Academy’s summer programs, added an exciting new element to this summer’s curriculum. In addition to the camp’s dynamic programming, the kids at Shemesh learned to respect and honor our nation’s military. The highlights of the July session, United We Stand, included reading books that portrayed the military lifestyle, making individual survival kits and going on a “flag fact” scavenger hunt.
The session culminated in the adoption of a soldier based out of Tallil Airbase in Baghdad. Pre-K and Kindergarten campers made lists of items the soldier and his company might appreciate.
After two weeks of collecting and card making, six giant boxes were filled. The toddlers and twos cluster made a giant Texas. The threes made eagle cards, and the Pre-K/K hand-packed the boxes and wrote individual words of praise and encouragement. Levine campers took time out of their summer to do a mitzvah for the men and women protecting us far away from home.

Texas Rangers Summer Academy visits Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance

Holocaust survivor Mike Jacobs and participants in the Texas Rangers Summer Academy

Every summer, the Texas Rangers Foundation hosts the Summer Academy. This summer, 150 children from the Lena Pope Home in Fort Worth participated in the Texas Rangers Summer Academy presented by the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation.
Now in its 13th summer, the goal is to minimize the learning loss that can occur during summer break with activities that integrate educational objectives with real life experiences.
The Summer Academy is free for the students and spans the entire month of June with activities planned across Tarrant County.
In previous years, children have had the opportunity to participate in unique experiences such as fishing, a behind the scenes visit at Fox Sports Southwest, visits to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the Fort Worth Zoo and an etiquette lesson.
Among the sites children visited this year was the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance.

News and notes

Mazel tov to the Jacoby family who’s photo of the Grand Canyon is one of 10 finalists for the Best Vacation Ever Photo Contest sponsored by Starwood Vacation Network.
You can vote for the photo (#4), taken by son Austin, soon to be a freshman at Yavneh between now and Aug. 22 at http://www.starwoodvillas.com/?page_id=8342. The picturesque scene features Karla and Rick Jacoby sitting in a rock hole in the Grand Canyon. “It was just breathtaking,” wrote Karla.
Chabad of Dallas will offer a free Hebrew crash course starting Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Six one-hour sessions are planned. To RSVP or for more information on the course please e-mail info@chabadofdallas.com or call Rabbi Naparstek at 972-818-0770.

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