Dallas Doings
By Sharon Wisch-Ray

It’s hard to believe that the New Year is upon us and we are about to usher in 2012. We are hustling here at the TJP to put this week’s paper to bed a few days early so the staff can take a well-deserved week off. We wish all of you a happy, healthy New Year. Don’t forget the black-eyed peas for good luck!

CHAI Young Adult Brunch

As part of our Young Men’s Service League (YMSL) community service, my 16-year-old son Benjamin and I have volunteered several times on Community Homes for Adults, Inc. (CHAI) projects. From picnics at the park to playing board games with the residents on site, we have seen first hand how the residents there are flourishing, and how important it is for folks with cognitive disabilities to live as independently as possible.

At the CHAI Young Adults brunch are from left, Brett Diamond, Jason Sandler, Aaron Carrol, Stephen Blum, Morris Tauben, and Barry Sheft.

Earlier this month, CHAI hosted a Young Adults “brunch and learn,” chaired by Corey Todres, Nicole and Kevin Cooper, Roxy and Brett Diamond and Amy and Jason Sandler. The event was held at the “Todd House,” group home, on Dec. 4. The residents, staff and several of CHAI’s board members presented and discussed CHAI’s history and recent expansion of services, with “up and coming” young leaders in the Jewish community. Some of the participants were children and grandchildren of past and current supporters of CHAI.
It was delightful to feel the energy and excitement of these young leaders, who have grown up with disabled peers in school and their community their whole lives. Some were surprised that this was not always the case, when in the past, families had few choices for their cognitively disabled loved ones, other than sending them out of state, to a institution, or keeping them isolated and at home.
After 28 years of services for people with cognitive disabilities, CHAI provides an environment where residents and clients flourish, where volunteers, board, staff, families and the clients themselves break down the barriers to inclusion. CHAI is a non-sectarian, nonprofit corporation under Jewish auspices that provides programs and services to enable adults with cognitive disabilities to live full, rich lives in a safe environment and to meaningfully participate in the community.
You can become involved too — volunteer, support CHAI, help clients out with job opportunities, and don’t stand by when you hear others use negative terminology when speaking about someone with a cognitive disability — Get involved, don’t just be a bystander! For more information about CHAI, call 214-373-8600 and ask for Heather Canterbury or Lisa Teschner.

Are you a Camp Chai lifer?

This summer, over 50 Camp Chai parents became part of the first group of “Chai Lifers.” What is a Chai Lifer? The qualifications are simple: come to Camp Chai (camper or staff), grow up and have children and send them to Camp Chai! The JCC has been a second home to so many over the years and the memories of camp stay with us forever. Sending your child to your camp brings back all of those special memories and we relive the experience with our children.
Camp Director Laura Seymour notes, “Although Camp Chai has changed over the years, some things never change like Maccabiah, overnights and gaga. Singing those familiar songs with your children makes camp a real family affair.
“The hardest part of being a Chai Lifer is dropping your child off at camp and not getting to stay,” says Seymour. “We plan to solve this problem by having an “adults only” Camp Chai Reunion.” She added that the JCC is searching for all those Camp Chai former campers and staff to invite so if you are one and know of others, have them e-mail lseymour@jccdallas.org. Remember — you can leave camp but camp will never leave you.

Temple Shalom to host annual Mah Jongg tourney

For all of you Mah Jongg mavens, Temple Shalom Sisterhood will host its 11th annual Community Mah Jongg Tournament Jan. 22 from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. Registration begins at 1:30 and there will be four rounds. Please bring your own card and come enjoy light snacks, fun and fabulous prizes. Cost is $36 to participate, pre-register. RSVP with your check by Jan. 13 to Temple Shalom — Mah Jongg Tournament, 6930 Alpha Road, Dallas, TX 75240. For more information, contact Wendi Klatsky at wendiz@aol.com or 972-781-1155.

Beth Torah bowl-a-thon will support its youth programming

Congregation Beth Torah will hold a bowl-a-thon Sunday, Jan. 15 to support its youth groups. The event is open to everyone and will be held at the Plano Super Bowl, 2521 K Avenue starting at 2 p.m. Rhonda Duchin tells us that there will be raffle prizes, food and fun for all.
For more information, you can friend Rashi USY on Facebook at facebook.com/rashi.usy or visit the group’s website at sites.google.com/site/rashiusy/ or e-mail Youth Chair Debbie Wills, youth@congregationbethtorah.org; Youth Director Melissa Duchin, usy@congregationbethtorah.org; or Youth Director Anna Tasciotti, kadima@congregationbethtorah.org.

Murder-Mystery Theater: Get in the action at the J

To all you fellow “Law and Order” fans, the JCC will hold a murder mystery dinner theater on Jan. 14 at the JCC. “The Speakeasy Scandal” will be held in Zale Auditorium from 6 to 9 p.m.
An enjoyably game of make-believe for adults, where one can attempt to outwit flappers and gangsters in the context of a live-action whodunit. You are literally in the middle of the action; discovering, analyzing and deciphering clues; interrogating your favorite suspects (incognito, improvisational, professional actors). Everyone will be guided through the process of solving the crime while you dine and socialize. An Italian themed Kosher dinner will be served at each table.
Cost is $50 per person. If you’d like to be a “Table Boss,” $500 will net you a private table reserved for six, wine and hors d’oevres upon arrival and one character role in the play.

Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off gains first national sponsor

One of my favorite community events is the Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off and from what I hear, this year’s promises to be the best yet. Entering its 19th year, the Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off charity fundraiser has received the first national sponsor in its history. Diamond Crystal, a Michigan manufacturer of kosher salt, is benefiting the cook-off with material sponsorship, including donation of kosher culinary salt to be used by the competing teams.
“We are extraordinarily pleased to have the support of Diamond Crystal for our Dallas event,” said Rabbi Shawn Zell, spiritual leader of Tiferet Israel, the traditional congregation hosting the March 18, 2012 event.
The Kosher Chili Cook-off is a community gathering created in 1993 by several Tiferet Israel members to raise funds for the congregation and local charities. The cook-off began with a few teams and attendance mostly from the congregation. The 19th Chili Cook-off expects to draw close to 50 teams and attract more than 4,000 attendees from Texas and beyond.
“Kosher salt,” said Rabbi Zell, “originally received its name from its use in making meat kosher. Also used for cooking, the salt is manufactured under kosher conditions and certified as kosher by organizations such as the Orthodox Union, headquartered in New York City.”
Diamond Crystal uses an evaporative process to extract hollow, pyramid-shaped salt crystals from rotating pans of brine. This Alberger process — named for one of the founders of the salt company — creates thin flakey salt with a unique appearance, feel, and taste.
“Kosher salt differs from normal granulated table salt,” said Kari Paulson, spokeswoman for Diamond Crystal. “It crumbles in your fingers and creates lacey-shaped crystals. It sticks well to food and really enhances the taste of food with a flavor burst, rather than giving it a salty bite.”
According to the rules of the Kosher Chili Cook-off, all teams start with the same kosher meat, making their chili unique with added ingredients, including salt and other spices. This year each team will also receive a supply of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt.
The Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off supports the work of Tiferet Israel and other not-for-profit organizations in the Dallas area. The local charities selected to benefit from the 2012 Cook-off are Chai Community Homes for Adults, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America North Texas Chapter and Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association.

Business Scene: Local accounting firms merge

The local accounting firms of Goldin Peiser & Peiser, LLP (GPP) and Bader & Associates, PC (Bader) recently merged last week. The merged firm, with 31 employees including 8 partners, will continue to be known as Goldin Peiser & Peiser, LLP and will remain located at 16800 N. Dallas Parkway, Suite 240, Dallas, TX 75248.
“We have a great deal of respect for the practice Bader has built over the years,” stated Allan Peiser, managing partner of GPP. “Our decision to merge was based on a number of factors, but for the most part it is because our firms’ philosophies are well-aligned. We both believe in putting our clients’ needs front and center and providing the responsive service our clients deserve. “Moreover, they are looking forward to the additional resources and knowledge base they will have to offer their clients. “We view this merger as the first step to continued success,” said managing partner, Mark Bader. “Our main goal as a firm is to provide exceptional client service. Collectively, we believe this move enhances our ability to provide efficient, timely, and accurate services and guidance.”
Based in Dallas, GPP is a well-rounded, locally-owned accounting and consulting firm serving clients throughout the north Texas area. Founded in 1994, GPP specializes in the fields of healthcare, manufacturing, international, technology, and commercial real estate. Their services include accounting, audit, tax, specialty tax credits, business valuation, IRS representation, and doing business in China. Through their alliance with BDO Seidman, they offer the international reach and resources of the fifth largest public accounting firm, with offices in over 110 countries. Clients are offered the best of both worlds — specific market knowledge and personalized attention coupled with the resources of a large international group.
Bader & Associates, P.C. is a well-rounded, locally-owned accounting firm serving clients throughout north Texas. Founded in 1989, it is one of the leading firms specializing in the field of oil and gas, as well as working with small and mid-sized businesses in the fields of real estate, retail, professional services and various other industries. Bader & Associates, P.C. also assists numerous high-net-worth individuals and families with all aspects of income tax compliance and planning.

CSI Mitzvah Community spends time with seniors

Enjoying a moment together at the Legacy Preston Hollow were members of Shearith’s Mitzvah Community and Legacy residents. Seated from left are Marilyn Levy; Margie Diaz; Mildred Rosen and Sandy Bassman Standing from left are Roberta Toback, Esther Nathan, Fred Nathan and Steve Toback

Shearith Israel’s Mitzvah Community recently visited the residents at Legacy Preston Hollow. They viewed a film about the Yiddish Book Center had a great time. Every few months a group of volunteers from the synagogue spend an afternoon with our most jeweled population, the seniors of our community.

Sharon Shalet joins Babich

Sharon Oran Shalet has accepted a position with Babich & Assoc. as a recruiting and placement manager. Babich is Texas’ oldest placement and recruitment firm and annually places more candidates than any other agency in the DFW Metroplex, and possibly the entire state.
Started in 1952 as one of the first women-owned businesses in the DFW Metroplex by Mildred Babich, the firm is led today by Dr. Anthony (Tony) Beshara, the nation’s No. 1 recruiter as determined by a leading industry trade journal, The Fordyce Letter.
Tony is a recognized authority in the job search profession with three successful books, a radio show, and numerous magazine articles to his credit. Tony has become a frequent authority on the Dr. Phil Show, offering his experience and advice to Dr. Phil’s guests and the country.
Babich is organized by industry and placement managers are assigned according to experience to one or more of the accounting / finance, administrative, banking, information technology, legal, sales, or technical / engineering departments.
Sharon is excited to be working for a company that allows her to be of service to so many who are unemployed and struggling to find a job in today’s economy. If you or someone you know is looking for employment, email Sharon at shayna@babich.com.

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