I have been shul hopping as of late. It has been a joy to attend my nephew Jacob Wisch’s bar mitzvah recently at Congregation Beth Torah, and last weekend the simcha of Aaron Minsky at Anshai Torah.
It’s fun to learn the minhags (customs) of the different synagogues in our community and about all of the goings-on in addition to the items we are able to include on our pages.
It was amazing to hear Aaron’s grandmother, Helen Risch, and his mom, Jolene Risch-Minsky, both read from the Torah and dad, Jayson Minsky, led the Musaf service. I don’t recall another simcha that I’ve attended where the family on every level was so thoroughly engaged and involved in the service.
Next up on the bar mitzvah circuit is Markie Merlene’s simcha at DATA Far North. Incidentally, added congratulations to Markie who was recently named starting point guard for Plano’s Robinson Middle School — quite a feat for a seventh grader.
Share Shabbat unites Emanu-El members
On Nov. 11, 225 Temple Emanu-El households participated in Share Shabbat. Fifty Temple Emanu-El member households opened their homes and were matched with 175 member households for a Shabbat dinner experience. Quite an undertaking! Some homes had an intimate group of six, while others had over 20. A number of members chose to host their regular Shabbat dinner crowd of family and friends, while others were excited to make new friends.
Each participating household, whether host or guest, received a Share Shabbat toolkit that included Shabbat Blessing Cards, a Cell Phone Sleeping Bag (Goodnight Phone, Hello Shabbat), Frequently Asked Questions, 100 Things to Do on Shabbat, a Shabbat Playlist, a button that says “I Stop for Shabbat,” a tzedakah envelope with recommended organizations and a Share Shabbat Cookbook.
A big thank you to the Share Shabbat committee members: Barbara Einsohn, Susan Giardina, Jackie Hoffman, Nancy Israel and Wendy Palmer.
Legacy chef shares his expertise
I’ve heard from numerous friends that the food at the Legacy at Willowbend is first rate.
There can never be too many cooks in the kitchen according to Chef James Rowland, the executive chef of The Legacy at Willow Bend, as he recently shared his domain with culinary students from Collin College. The “future chefs” recently visited The Legacy at Willow Bend to gain some real-world experience.
“I am happy to give students a ‘behind-the-scenes’ view of my world,” said Rowland. “Cooking for a large community like The Legacy at Willow Bend is a challenge and one I think every student should be prepared for. I enjoyed getting to know the students and discovering the different aspects of the culinary profession that they are going in to and the different work experiences they are each seeking.”
Rav Hanan Schlesinger named to Rabbis Without Borders
Rabbis Without Borders (RWB), Clal’s landmark initiative that helps rabbis make Jewish thought and practice more available for improving people’s lives, selected its third class for its competitive rabbinic fellowship program. More than 90 applicants competed for the 22 spots. Of those selected, Dallas’ Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger was picked for this prestigious program.
“Interest in the program has only increased over the years,” said Rabbi Rebecca W. Sirbu, RWB Director. “Rabbis recognize that the religious environment has changed — from family make up to spiritual practice. To reach people where they are, rabbis need to apply their skills in new ways. RWB offers that kind of support. It helps rabbis better communicate in both familiar and new venues, and makes Jewish wisdom an accessible resource for the American public.”
The program, now in its third year, encourages rabbis to think creatively about their work and the new American religious landscape. Building a network of religious leaders from all streams, RWB helps rabbis make Jewish insights readily available, adding to the well of American spiritual resources. As the key disseminators of the tradition, rabbis who can present Jewish wisdom more effectively are better educators and community builders, and can become religious leaders with unique tools to offer the broader culture.
Rabbinic Fellows will gather in NYC four times over the academic year, 2011-2012. The first session, on Nov. 7-8, 2011, featured Prof. Gustav Niebuhr, Director of the Religion and Media Program at Syracuse University and former columnist at the New York Times, who discussed religion in America today. The December 19-20 program will feature social media innovators Rabbi Owen Gottlieb and Daniel Sieradisky, who will discuss technology, social media and gaming.
RWB also has a variety of resources for rabbis to enhance their skills for addressing diverse audiences. From online learning to one-on-one dialogue, participants will work with Clal faculty to develop methodologies that draw on the texts and tradition in new ways. The goal is for these “spiritual innovators” to see their congregations as more than just members of their school, community or institution.
American Diabetes Association honors Dr. Jaime Davidson
Mazel tov to Dr. Jaime A. Davidson who recently received the American Diabetes Association’s Josiah Kirby Lilly Sr. Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contributions to the lives of persons with Diabetes Mellitus.
The gala took place on Nov. 5 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis, Ind. Kvelling were Dr. Davidson’s wife of 42 years, Ana, his sons and daughters-in-law, Aaron and Michelle Davidson and Maurice and Vanesa Davidson and granddaughters Sasha and Samantha.
Two members of the Waldman Brothers team, Chairman of the Board Howard S. Cohen and Vice Chairman of the Board and Certified Financial Planner Scott R. Cohen, recently earned the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®) professional designation from the Richard D. Irwin Graduate School of The American College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
The CAP® program provides professionals in the nonprofit and financial service fields that work with clients in the development and implementation of philanthropic programs with the knowledge and tools needed to help reach their charitable giving objectives, while also helping meet their estate planning and wealth management goals.
Candidates for the CAP designation must complete a minimum of three courses in philanthropic studies at the Irwin Graduate School and six hours of supervised written examinations.
The curriculum addresses issues of advanced design, implementation and management of charitable gift techniques and strategies, as well as philanthropic tools, including charitable trusts, private foundations, supporting organizations, donor-advised funds, pooled income funds and charitable gift annuities.
Over 350 professionals have been awarded the CAP designation since its inception in 2003.
Herzl Hadassah sing-a-long
Mark Kreditor will tickle the ivories on Monday, Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. in the Senior Assembly Room at the JCC. Brighten your day with a song and learn the background of your favorite tunes. Coffee and desert will be served.
Also, as a reminder at this time of year Herzl collects dollars (cash or check) and children’s shoes for the kids at the Vogel Alcove. You can make your donation at the meeting.