By Sharon Wisch-Ray
At press time Tuesday, I took a second to take a call from a gentleman in our community who shared a story with me that I think you’ll enjoy.
He called to share some thoughts about how we can improve our “Guide to Jewish Life” (which I hope you all received) and suggested that we could do a better job describing the different streams of Judaism.
This guy, who I’ll call Sheldon, has been a member of our community for some time. He remembered my Uncle Chet, who used to man the Northaven office of the TJP and who died close to 30 years ago. At any rate, Sheldon didn’t get the weekly TJP, so he didn’t realize how chalk full our pages are of synagogue news and information differentiating the various streams. I think last time he saw a copy of our paper, we listed three synagogues in Dallas, and now we have more than 25.
I was touched by his call, though, and he shared a funny story. He said that many years ago he was on a date with a non-Jewish woman. He said the subject of his religion came up like he figured it would. He explained to her about Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Judaism, and that we call our houses of worship shuls and temples. He asked her, “Have you ever been to temple?” She replied, “No, but I’ve been to Waco!”
After I stopped laughing, I had to share that with you. If it’s an oldie but a goody, I hadn’t heard it yet. And, if you’d like to share a funny story with me that I can pass along to our readers, “Bring it on!”
Bryna Herskowitz earns Gold Award
The Herskowitz family is well-known to many in our community. We have covered the heartbreaking story of Barbie and Mark’s son, Richie, a Plano teen who lost his valiant battle with cystic fibrosis on Oct. 29, 2007. After his death, we shared stories of how his family and the greater Dallas Jewish and non-Jewish community honored his memory.
From his brother, Jordan’s one-man show “Jordy Pordy, Taking the Bull by the Horns,” USY projects and the March 2012 basketball tournament benefitting Richie’s Spirit Foundation, sponsored by UT-Austin’s AEPi chapter, Richie’s memory has been kept alive on so many levels and by so many.
When I was perusing a recent Dallas Morning News, I locked on Bryna Herskowitz’ name. She was listed among a large group of Girl Scouts who had earned their Gold Award recently. This is the highest honor that can be achieved by a Girl Scout.
I reached out to Bryna, and she was kind enough to share some details about what the award meant to her.
“One hundred hours of leadership, six months of planning and 12 years of Girl Scouting is the amount of time I devoted to earn my Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouts.
“My Gold Award involved a rigorous amount of work in order to raise awareness for organ donation. I completed 11 presentations to over 300 people to help those still on an organ transplant waiting list. My inspiration for my Gold Award comes from my older brother, Richie, who received a double lung transplant due to cystic fibrosis. A chronic lung and digestive disease, cystic fibrosis leads to frequent hospitalizations and colossal pharmaceutical expenses.
“Unfortunately, Richie lost his battle to the illness while a senior in high school. My parents are still paying off funeral costs and medical bills for Richie. Due to these bills, my parents cannot fund my college education. Given that I am responsible for supporting myself throughout college, I have worked at the Jewish Community Center since I was 14 years old. I overtook the job from Richie after he passed away. I plan on working throughout college by holding a job on campus, as well as off campus at the local synagogue. I work diligently for the things I desire, and I acquired this trait from my hardworking parents. My father works three jobs to support our family, and my mother is the primary caregiver of my brothers and me. Family is the thing I value most in life, and I admire mine for their dedication to goals.
“After Richie’s organ transplant (at age 6), he had a new zest for life. His new set of lungs enabled him to enjoy activities that were once impossible. My family saw firsthand how one person’s selfless gift has a profound impact. I learned from my Gold Award that Richie is among a plethora of people who deserve the opportunity to live a longer, healthier life. Richie’s strength continually inspires me to live life to the fullest. ‘You only live once,’ Richie explained, ‘why miss the opportunity?’”
Bryna, you inspire me to not take things for granted and to give back to the community whenever I can. All of us here at the TJP wish you the best of luck as you begin your freshman year at UT-Austin. I am certain that on this larger stage, you will continue to spread the word about the importance of organ donation.
Temple Emanu-El to offer sweet class on Hebrew
Are you planning a trip to Israel? Do you want to learn to read, write and speak Hebrew? Do you just want to get more comfortable with the Hebrew side in our prayer book? Whatever your ultimate goal, “Chocolate Hebrew” can be your gateway to the ancient and modern language of our people.
In 13 hours and over five days, this unique, multi-sensory, non-threatening intensive class will take the mystery out of the Hebrew alphabet, according to a Temple Emanu-El statement.
The class will be led by Ruthie Precker, who has taught Hebrew at every level in the Dallas area for more than two decades at institutions including UNT, SMU, the JCC and Temple Emanu-El.
Participants must attend all five sessions. The class will meet in the Alexander Conference Room at Temple Emanu-El. Sessions are scheduled for 1:30-2:10 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9; 6-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday Sept. 11-13; and 6-9 p.m. Sept. 18.
Registration is required and space is limited. The cost for Chocolate Hebrew is $100, which includes materials.
For information or to register, contact Meirav Yaaran at email@example.com or 214-706-0000.
Lauren Savariego and Julie Haymann join Virginia Cook, Realtors
Lauren Savariego and Julie Haymann joined Virginia Cook, Realtors last month.
Each earned the Rookie of the Year awards in their first year in residential sales. Their career paths soon merged, and the team has built a successful business.
“Lauren and Julie bring an incomparable level of excellence to every transaction,” said Virginia Cook, CEO of Virginia Cook, Realtors. “Their professional values parallel those of our company. They combine expertise with a dedication to the clients and communities where they live and work.
Long-time Dallas residents, Julie and Lauren have an in-depth knowledge of the entire Dallas-area market, Cook said. As a result of the community in which they live, their business is centered in the neighborhoods of Preston Hollow, North Dallas, Uptown, Lakewood, Plano and Frisco.
“The Key Team is devoted to community service, as well as building a strong business,” said Sheila Rice, executive vice president of Virginia Cook, Realtors. “Julie and Lauren work diligently as volunteers enhancing their community where they are raising their own families. This is welcomed by their loyal base of clients who share their dedication to their local community.”
Most recently, Haymann has helped improve local parks with playgrounds for children. She has been a member of Team in Training for several years, raising more than $10,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She is also a co-president of Levine Academy’s Parent Association.
Savariego’s current community activities include serving on the board of Temple Emanu-El’s Early Childhood Education Center Parent Association.
Best of luck to Lauren and Julie on their new endeavor; they may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or by telephone at 214-682-5088 (Lauren) or 214-625-9504 (Julie).
And finally …
We love to hear from our readers. Send your news, simchas, and awards to firstname.lastname@example.org or to me here at the office at 7920 Belt Line Rd. #680, Dallas, TX 75254.