By Sharon Wisch-Ray
My thoughts this week turned to a very serious note as I contemplated our upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and how to appropriately express my concern for our fellow Jews in Israel while we celebrate the most American of holidays.
Each year at our table, in addition to saying the Shechiyanu, I always make a point to lead our guests in “A Prayer for our Country,” which is recited in many synagogues on Shabbat.
It begins, “Our God and God of our ancestors: We ask Your blessings for our country — for its government, for its leaders and advisers and for all who exercise just and rightful authority.
“Teach them insights from Your Torah, that they may administer all affairs of state fairly, that peace and security, happiness and prosperity, justice and freedom may forever abide in our midst. … ”
I never take lightly how fortunate we are to be able to practice our religion freely while being full members of American society.
This year, I believe we’ll add, “A prayer for the State of Israel.” As once again, Israel is embattled and forced to defend itself, I want my children and our guests to remember, especially on Thanksgiving, that we owe our ability to live free as Jews in the United States in part because our fellow Jews in Israel who are willing to stand up and protect the Jewish homeland at all costs.
The English translation of the prayer (the Conservative version) is, “Our Father in Heaven, Rock and Redeemer of the people Israel; Bless the state of Israel, with its promise of redemption. Shield it with Your love; spread over it the shelter of Your peace. Guide its leaders and advisors with Your light and Your truth. Help them with Your good counsel. Strengthen the hands of those who defend our Holy Land. Deliver them; crown their efforts with triumph. Bless the land with peace, and its inhabitants with lasting joy. And let us say: Amen.”
If you received this after Thanksgiving, perhaps you can add it to the Shabbat table repertoire.
We wish everyone a meaningful and peaceful Thanksgiving.
Morton Lewis AZA raises funds for Scottish Rite Hospital
Morton Lewis’ stand-up cause was recently changed from Susan G. Komen to Scottish Rite Hospital. It came to the attention of the chapter, that several of its members were patients at Scottish Rite.
At its annual dance in September, Morton Lewis AZA raised $2,100, and attracted the official Cowboys DJ to help put the fundraiser over the top.
Thanks to Kelly Glasscock from Scottish Rite, Morton Lewis members were able to obtain a full tour and see where the donation money went. Michael Viver is godol of Lewis and Brandon Cotter is gizbor.
Niederman named NATE president
Mazel tov to Deborah Niederman, a regional educator for the Union for Reform Judaism, who has been elected president of the National Association of Temple Educators for a term running from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015.
Debbie and her slate of executives and board members will be formally installed during NATE’s North American Conference, to be held Dec. 23-26 in Phoenix.
Deborah steps up from her current position as NATE’s vice president. The new NATE board will include Debbie Massarano, Temple Shalom’s director of lifelong learning, as a first-time member.
Niederman serves as the coordinator of Induction and Retention for the Jim Joseph Education Initiative of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and the HUC-JIR Schools of Education Alumni Engagement Coordinator.
She has been in the field of Jewish Education for 20 years, serving congregations in New Jersey, Florida and Ohio. In addition to serving as a congregational educator, she also worked for the Union for Reform Judaism for nearly 10 years. She has devoted much of her career to mentoring new colleagues in the field, curriculum development, building leadership and change capacity and professional development.
Debbie devotes a great deal of time to supporting Jewish education as a volunteer. In addition to her efforts on behalf of the National Association of Temple Educators, she has served on the advisory board of the Center for Jewish Education here in Dallas for the past six years and currently chairs the Strategic Planning Committee and the Community of Educators Committee.
Debbie lives here in Dallas with her husband, Rabbi Andrew Paley, and their two children, Molly and Sammy. She is a 1990 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and a 1993 graduate of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC-JIR in LA.
Shearith Israel to offer Hebrew and Yiddish classes
Congregation Shearith Israel is offering two Hebrew classes beginning next week.
In Advanced Hebrew, you can further your Hebrew with Dina Eliezer, Weitzman Family Religious School director. This class will run from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Mondays. A strong reading foundation is needed.
The second class Dina is teaching is Ivrit b’Ivrit and will meet 7:40-8:40 p.m. This class will be conversation based in and spoken exclusively in Hebrew. Many students from the first class are also attending the second class to “immerse” themselves in Hebrew.
There is a cost and scholarships are available. Register at https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=91d435
Shearith Israel is also beginning a Yiddish class, 10:30 a.m.-noon Wednesdays starting Nov. 28.
The Yiddish class is an exciting venture for Shearith Israel. For years, Shearith has had a fun conversational class but never a proper how to speak, write and read the beloved Mamaloshen.
There is a nominal charge, and all interested are encouraged to contact Mona Allen at 214-939-7318 for more information and to sign up.
Yavneh needs stuffed animals for annual drive
Yavneh’s 2012 Stuffed Animal Drive is under way, and the students of Kids Korner hope to surpass the 103 stuffed loves they collected last year. Donations will be shared with the patients of Medical City Children’s Hospital.
“People don’t realize that stuffed animals make a huge difference to a child,” said Yavneh senior Rachel Rudberg. “The soft hug of an animal, character, or any fun stuffed toy really means a lot. It’s a huge gift that doesn’t have to cost much at all.”
Donate new stuffed pals to the Kids Korner box in the Yavneh’s Main Office thru Dec. 5.
Yavneh Academy is located at 12324 Merit Drive Dallas 75251. For information, call 214-295-3500 or visit yavnehdallas.org.