Dallas Doings
By Sharon Wisch-Ray

I know it’s January when the weather is cool and our local Jewish calendar heats up. Our calendar is jam-packed with ample opportunities for learning, fellowship and community spirit.
Top of the list is the JFGD’s Learning Fest which begins Friday night, Jan. 27 with several Shabbat sessions around the Greater Dallas area. It’s hard to believe that a mere $18 registration fee grants you access to more than 80 classes over the course of the next week.
I always try and make it to at least one or two classes every year, as well as the keynote event (this year on Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Shearith). This year however, I am going to strive to attend more. I am so intrigued by many of the classes I’ve been trying to figure out how to be in two places at once.
If you haven’t registered yet, visit www.learningfest.org for more information or contact Cathy Weinblatt, JFGD’s director of Community Engagement at 214-369-3313.

Shearith SISterhood honors Shirley Davidoff

Shirley Davidoff is Shearith Israel SISterhood’s 2012 Torah Fund honoree. She will be honored at a Champagne Brunch on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 at Shearith Israel at 11:30 a.m. As a part of Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, Shearith Israel SISterhood supports the Torah Fund with an annual event to raise funds. Torah Fund assures that our traditions, rituals and culture continue to thrive by raising scholarship funds for future rabbis, cantors and Jewish educators at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies.
A longtime member of CSI, Shirley serves as treasurer of the congregation and as a co-chair of the Rabbinic Search Committee. As founder and co-chair of IMPACT Poverty and Hunger, chair of the Jewish Community Relations council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, incoming vice chair of Strategic Planning of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger and member of the advisory committee for Shalom Bayit (Peace in the Home), Shirley exemplifies this year’s Torah Fund theme of Hiddur Mitzvah (beautifying or embellishing a mitzvah).
Shirley is currently nurse practitioner and director of Clinical Services at Cardiology and Interventional Vascular Associates. Born and raised in Galveston, Shirley has been married to her husband Bill for 26 years. They have two sons, Eric, 24, and Jeremy, 22.
For more information about the brunch, call Deidra Cizon 214-361-7170 or Jan Shwarts 214-734-1132.

Chabad’s new JLI course begins

Rabbi Moshe Naparstek of Chabad of Dallas tells us there is still time to check out tonight’s Jewish Learning Institue (JLI) offering at the the Chabad Center, 6710 Levelland in far North Dallas. The course will also be offered at Intown Chabad beginning Monday, Jan. 30. Money Matters: Jewish Business Ethics. starts at 7:30 p.m. and runs for six consecutive weeks.
This is a truly timely and meaningful JLI course said Rabbi Moshe Naparstek. It uses lessons taken straight from the news — about the rights of unions, salaries and minimum wage, insider trading — and all the dozens of decisions you make every day about your money.
The first session is all about Jewish law and insider trading. Cost of the six-week course is $100. For more information, contact Rabbi Naparstek at moshe@chabadofdallas.com or 972-818-0770.

JWV Women’s Auxiliary adopts Wells Fargo’s Snowflake

Diane Benjamin, Wells Fargo Preston Forest Branch Manager David Martinez II and “Snowflake”

Wild horses can’t stop our Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary #256 from their continued volunteer work to aid and assist the medical facilities of our Dallas Veterans Administration Hospital, the Fisher House, Ronald McDonald House, the Children’s Medical and the Scottish Rite Hospital. Mickey Warsaw, the Auxiliary’s “Bear Chair” spotted “Snowflake,” the Wells Fargo holiday mascot on display at her bank and knew that this would be a delightful gift to our charity hospitals as another expression of the JWVA’s volunteer work! Mickey’s Wells Fargo manager was impressed with her zealous appeal to lasso this acquisition and was rewarded for her efforts! Diane Benjamin, publicity chairman of the Auxiliary, followed Mickey’s lead and when she coveted the Preston Forest Wells Fargo’s ‘Snowflake,” Bank Manager David Martinez II, was duly impressed with the good deeds of the Auxiliary. Mr. Martinez, too, allowed “Snowflake” to be corralled by Diane and promised to make the offering of the Wells Fargo plush ponies an annual gift to the JWVA. Each year, these ponies are changed and are replicas of the horses used in the early 1900s by the express agents who, in years past, took good care of their horses, recognizing they were valuable transportation in the beginning of the last century. The JWV Auxiliary, are also ladies who might be described by many, as valuable work horses, as their ever constant and faithful service to our Veterans and children who are in need of medical care, remains a valiant effort. For more information on how you can join this team of dedicated volunteers, please contact LuAnn Bergman, president at 214-320-3712.

Tu B’Shevat seder is open to the community

Congregation Shearith Israel will hold a unique Tu B’Shevat Seder and Dinner on Tuesday, Feb. 8 from 7-9 p.m. Hosted by Dina Eliezer and chaired by Kathi Silver the theme of the evening is “Man is a tree of the field.”
Although there is no mention of Tu B’Shevat in the Torah, in the 16th century, the kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, one of the greater Mystics of Safed and his disciples instituted a Tu B’Shevat seder based on the writing in the Mishnah, the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions, in which the fruits and trees of the land of Israel were given symbolic meaning. Rabbi Luria taught us that eating fruits with great kavanah — meaning — we can achieve spiritual perfection.
Through reading, singing, blessing, and eating (both dinner and various fruits) experience the presence of God in the world around us. Explore cohesion with nature and the lesson we can derive from our botanical analogue.
The cost for the seder is $16 for members and $19 for guests, if registered by Jan. 31. After the 31st, reservations are by availability only, and the cost will increase by $3. For reservations visit www.shearith.org or call the synagogue at 214-361-6606.

VistaCare Hospice changes name to Odyssey Hospice

VistaCare Hospice, which has been serving the Dallas and Plano community for the past 13 years, has changed its name to Odyssey Hospice. VistaCare has been a sister company of Odyssey for several years, and is now part of the Gentiva family of home health and hospice companies. Gentiva is a national leader in hospice care.
“As with VistaCare, Odyssey Hospice’s care is centered on the entire family, designed to help both patient and loved ones make the most of each day,” said Elise Power, executive director of the local office. “Our team of professionals supports them with services in the home that include pain and symptom management, HME and related medications, emotional and spiritual support, and a comprehensive bereavement program.”
Power pointed out that, to be covered by insurance, candidates for hospice must have a life-limiting illness with a life expectancy of six months or less, and must be referred by a physician or other provider. Most hospice services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and many private health insurance companies, as well as through private pay. “Odyssey Hospice can help patients and their families determine eligibility and research all available resources,” said Power.
Physicians, other referral sources and families who would like more information or to receive a free DVD titled “Hospice and Your Loved One” should call Odyssey Hospice at 214-231-3914 or go to www.gentiva.com/hospice. Odyssey is accredited by the National Institute for Jewish Hospice.

News and notes:

Judy Safern touched base with us at presstime to advise that the charity Zumbathon originally scheduled for tonight, Jan. 26, is now postponed until March 11 at 2 p.m.
Lillian Hammer and her crew of Plano Mahj Jong mavens are looking for players for both morning and night games. If interested, contact Lillian at 972-596-9553.

Keep the good sports coming

Thanks to everyone who has submitted names for our Good Sports section. Keep the kids’ names coming as we build our bank of worthy athletes to be recognized! E-mail me at sharonw@texasjewishpost.com.

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