Dallas Doings

I have Ranger fever. I have been fortunate enough to attend a game in each of the Post Season series. In the ALDS, my boys and I saw perhaps the worst game of our lives when the Rays slaughtered the Rangers in the opener. Against, the Tigers, we saw perhaps best game of our lives as we watched spell-bound as Nelson Cruz launched his extra-inning grand slam. We could still hear the ballpark erupting as we entered our car, parked virtually on I-30 as we exited quickly — it was a school-night after all! Monday night, I accepted a last minute invitation from my longtime childhood friend Dr. Zohra Choudhry of Fort Worth, to watch the Rangers take on the Cardinals. The ballpark was electric, with people on their feet with almost every pitch. The tension was taught. It was obvious that we were playing October baseball and the stakes were high. By the time you receive this week’s paper, we may know the outcome of this year’s World Series, and hopefully have a championship trophy in Arlington to show for it. Win or lose it’s been a fun and exciting ride. Go Rangers!

Mitzvah Day is this Sunday

There is still time to sign up for the community-wide Mitzvah Day which is this Sunday, Oct. 30. The Ray family will be participating in a couple of different projects. Our younger two will be at Levine Academy to help with the Ian Jacoby Memorial Garden. Our older son, Benjamin, will join his ATID classmates  and package linen for the Dallas Furniture Bank, who will distribute it to formerly homeless families who are transitioning to apartments. Another interesting project is Spokes for Folks where you can help repair used bikes. There’s something for everyone! To date, over 2,000 people have registered but still many more participants are needed. Several projects are short on volunteers and the agencies and their clients are counting on us to meet their needs. Visit www.gotmitzvah.com and register yourself, your family and your friends for a project.

Akiba Academy celebrates ‘Women Who Inspire’

I was fortunate enough to attend Akiba Academy of Dallas’ annual Inspire! Gala and Auction honoring five exceptional “Women Who Inspire” last month at the Westin Galleria. The annual dinner and auction has been a staple of the local Jewish community for over 25 years, and this year’s edition brought everyone together again for a night of great food, camaraderie, and fun, all while raising vital funds for the school.

Akiba Academy’s Women Who Inspire! Gala Honorees, from left Sharon Blumberg, Carole Ann Hoppenstein, Cheryl Pollman, Helene Schussler, Pam Hochster Fine. | Photo: Holly Kuper

Sharon Blumberg, Pam Hochster Fine, Carole Ann Hoppenstein, Cheryl Pollman and Helene Schussler were honored with the Akiba Academy Civic Service Award for their continued support and service to the school and the broader Jewish community of Dallas.
According to Janis Gail, director of development at Akiba Academy, “It was my pleasure to work with these five stellar ‘Women Who Inspire’ and the extraordinary Gala leadership team led by Ann Ochstein and Peta Silansky. Because of their dedication, perseverance, and creativity — the event was a tremendous success.”
“I am honored to be a part of a school that teaches kids about their power to have an impact on the world around them. The event was a wonderful celebration of the gem that is Akiba Academy,” said Sharon Blumberg, one of the honorees.
The live auction was one of the highest points of the night, where a fantastic array of items (including VIP seats for NBA champions Dallas Mavericks, a weekend in Vegas and a vintage airplane ride, among many other prizes) were hotly contested by bidders. All proceeds from the auction will directly benefit the Akiba Academy student body. Without the support generated by the gala and auction, as well as other fundraising initiatives, the school could lack critical financial support to help manage tuition costs and ensure that no student is turned away for financial reasons. “The generosity of the Jewish community and outpouring of donations was phenomenal,” said Christy Bonds, development coordinator.
“Inspire! was an evening of celebration of the commitment we all have to our community. We are extremely grateful to everyone whose extraordinary efforts enabled us to make the event a reality and a wonderful success,” said Ann Ochstein, one of the event co-chairs. “We thank Akiba Academy for enriching the lives of our children and for inspiring us to grow as parents,” added Peta Silansky, also event co-chair.
Akiba also announced during the event a commemorative “funded path” honoring the Akiba Academy Civic Service Award recipients. The initiative will begin in earnest, laying one stone for each honoree, as part of the celebrations of Akiba’s upcoming 50th Anniversary that will be held throughout the 2012-2013 academic year. “We are planning something very special for our golden anniversary, and you definitely will not want to miss next year’s edition of Inspire!” indicated Jo Chung, the school’s managing director.
Mazal tov to Akiba for another successful gala

It’s JLI time

I’ve always wanted to take a Jewish Learning Institute class, but have not been able to free up my schedule yet. This year’s Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) will feature “Fascinating Facts: Exploring the Myths and Mysteries of Judaism.” The six-session course will begin the week of November 6, 2011.
Fascinating Facts embraces a wide range of interesting sessions each week including: Jewish myth and urban legend, biblical stories and events, Jewish foods, the Hebrew language, lifecycle events, mysteries of the occult, Jewish view on Satan and the evil eye, whether angels have wings, and why pork is considered the quintessential non-kosher food. “We’ve designed this course as a fun and insightful overview of Jewish heritage to promote a Jewish cultural literacy within the community,” explains Rabbi Zalman Abraham, of JLI’s Brooklyn Headquarters. “We aim to enlighten even the most seasoned trivia buffs with a treasure trove of ‘Who knew?’ Jewish factoids.”
“As the People of the Book, we strongly believe Jews should know the richness of their Jewish heritage. This is what we hope to accomplish in the DFW area with an entertaining and new educational offering,” says Rabbi Menachem Block, a local JLI instructor.
Like all JLI programs, “Fascinating Facts” is designed to appeal to people at all levels of Jewish knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. All JLI courses are open to the public, and attendees need not be affiliated with a particular synagogue, temple, or other house of worship.
“Fascinating Facts” will be taught at the following locations. Please see the websites for times and dates of the classes: Chabad of Dallas led by Rabbi Moshe Naparstek, 972-818-0770, www.chabadofdallas.com; Lang Chabad Center – Chabad of Plano led by Rabbi Menachem Block, 972-596-8270, www.chabadplano.org; The Sonnenschein Chabad Jewish Center – Chabad of Forth Worth and Tarrant County led by, Rabbi Dov Mandel, 817-263-7701, www.chabadfortworth.com and Chabad of Arlington led by Rabbi Levi Gurevitch, 817-451-1171, www.chabadarlington.com.

Altrusa Glitterati Craft Show

This year’s Altrusa Glitterati Art and Gift Boutique is Sunday, Oct. 30, noon  to 5:00 p.m. While the community is out performing mitzvahs all day, why not shop the 7th annual Altrusa boutique and support another worthwhile cause? Dozens of local artists will be at the show to sell their creations, benefiting Altrusa International of Dallas, a women’s service organization. Agencies that benefit from the Glitterati Boutique are the Vogel Alcove, Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital, North Texas Food Bank, Refugee Services of Texas, Old City Park Elementary School, micro-loan programs for women, literacy projects, Paws for Patriots, academic scholarships for women in need and so many more. Shoppers will enjoy lunch by Natalie’s Kitchen, and stroll through the booths of unique merchandise while supporting worthwhile projects and local artists. “This is not your typical craft fair, it’s simply the best group of artists in one show!” says Lili Feingold, Altrusa Glitterati project manager. For more information, visit www.altrusadallas.org or on Facebook: Altrusa Glitterati
It will take place at Tiferet Israel Synagogue, 10909 Hillcrest Road, Dallas, TX 75230; admission is $1.

Book Clubs starting soon

Shearith Israel is starting two Book Clubs! Both the Jewish Book Club and an Israel Book Club are free and open to the Jewish community. The purpose of the Jewish Book Club will be to read and discuss novels by prominent American Jewish authors such as Singer, Roth and Bellow, and Israeli authors such as Oz, Yehoshua and Grossman. The clubs will explore the structure and themes of these novels, with an emphasis on what makes them “Jewish.” The first book will be David Grossman’s award winning “To the End of the Land.” available in paperback in English. Members of the Club would host sessions and group would be limited in size.
The Israel Book Club will provide a forum for people to come together to learn and discuss Israel in an informal setting. The inaugural meeting is on Dec. 4 11 a.m. to noon at Congregation Shearith Israel. It will be hosted by community leader Lillian Pincus. The guests are to read the book Stand Up Nation prior to attending. As an added bonus, the local Dallas AIPAC office will give free copies of the book, to the first five people that register.
Again, both of these groups are open to the Jewish Community at no charge. For more information or to register please contact Mona Allen at mallen@shearith.org or 214-939-7318.

Brews and Jews

If you like beer, B.J’s Brewhouse will be the place for you next Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. Mark Fisher and Rik Heller will hold “Brews and Jews,” at 6:30 p.m. at the restaurant. Special guest will be Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor. B.J’s. is located at 4901 Beltline Road in Addison.

See the work of seven Jewish artists

There are still a couple of days to catch the work of Paula Joyce, Cynthia Schneidler, Robin Sachs, Barbara Nehman, Julie Meetal, Susan Kandell and Veronique Jonas in their interpretation of: Wabi Sabi. The exhibition closes on Oct. 29.
Wabi Sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It’s simple, slow and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all. Wabi Sabi is flea markets, not warehouse stores; aged wood, not Pergo; rice paper, not glass. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. It reminds us that we are all but transient beings on this planet-that our bodies as well as the material world around us are in the process of returning to the dust from which we came. Through wabi sabi, we learn to embrace liver spots, rust, and frayed edges, and the march of time they represent.
The Downtown Gallery is located in the Plaza of the Americas, Suite G207, 700 N Pearl Street, Dallas, Texas 75201. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please visit www.tvaa.org to learn more about the TVAA Downtown Gallery.

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