By Sharon Wisch-Ray
The year has flown by, and we at the TJP are, as always, grateful for the support of our loyal subscribers and advertisers. We wish everyone a healthy, happy and safe New Year.
What’s a Whiffenpoof?
The Dallas Jewish community has been treated to some amazing concerts this year. Matisyahu, the Maccabeats — twice — and Shuly Nathan, just to name a few. Next year promises more of the same, and will start of with a blast when Yale’s Whiffenpoofs will appear at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7 at the Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven Road.
If you are not familiar with the Whiffenpoofs, they are 14 Yale senior men, who were selected to be in the school’s a capella group.
The tradition began in 1909. The “Whiffs” began as a senior quartet that met for weekly concerts at Mory’s Temple Bar, the famous Yale tavern. Today, the group has become one of Yale’s most celebrated traditions.
More than 100 years ago, on a frosty January night in New Haven, Conn., five of the Yale Glee Club’s best singers convened at Mory’s Temple Bar to escape the cold. Louis Linder, the tavern’s barkeep and a music aficionado, welcomed them in, beginning an institution that survives to this day.
Four of those original five singers were members of the Glee Club’s Varsity Quartet, a group that sang together regularly at various alumni events. Unwilling to restrict themselves to performances at public functions, the group began to meet weekly at Mory’s, where they improvised harmonies to the songs they loved. These weekly meetings soon became a hallowed tradition amongst the singers.
As their fame on campus grew, the quintet began their search for a name. Denton “Goat” Fowler, tickled by a joke featuring a mythical dragonfish named the Whiffenpoof, suggested the name to his companions, who found the name an apt reflection of the atmosphere of levity that accompanied the group’s gatherings. The word quickly caught on with the group’s admirers, and the name stuck.
In the years since, each generation of Whiffenpoofs have taken up the mantle of their forebears. For more than one century of songsters, the name, the song and the weekly date at Mory’s have remained traditions.
Among this year’s performers are Dallasite and baritone Bradley Travis, an East Asian studies major.
Tickets ($15 for adults; $10 for seniors/students) are available for purchase at www.whiffenpoofs.com/tickets or at the door. For information, call the J at 214-739-2737
Lakehill debaters succeed at district; eye state
Members of the Lakehill Preparatory School upper school debate ream advanced to the state tournament after their success at the YMCA Youth and Government District Tournament Dec. 1 at Jack Singley Academy in Irving.
Three Lakehill teams competed in state affairs forum, and all will compete at the state tournament, Jan. 31-Feb. 3 in Austin.
Two of the team’s proposals placed first. In addition, John Devine, Clayton Drazner and Gaby Gonzalez were named Outstanding Delegate for their superior performance in pro/con debate. Jacob Graff received the Angie Baggett Award as the most outstanding debater of the day.
John Devine was edged out in an extremely close race for chair of state affairs forum.
Devine, a junior, is the son of John Devine and Sharon Mansfield. Drazner, a senior, is the son of Laurie and Mark Drazner. Graff, a senior, is the son of Jonathan Graff and Audrey Miklius, and Gonzalez, a junior, is the daughter of JoAnn and Alex Gonzalez
State Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, gave the keynote address at the conference.
On campus: Sigma Alpha Mu at UT
Yasher Koach to members of Sigma Alpha Mu who have spearheaded an annual Shabbat program at UT-Chabad for Sammy members and the greater UT-Austin Jewish community.
Jake Dworkis, Andrew Pansick and Alex Reifer, all of Dallas, along with Jaime Karakowsky of Monterrey, Mexico, took a leadership role in helping the fraternity become more involved with Judaism on campus.
At the inaugural event in the fall, more than 140 Jewish students — both Sammies and from across campus — joined for a Shabbat dinner and service.
At the Sept. 28 dinner at the Sammy house, more than 100 Sammies attended as Chabad Rabbi Zev Johnson led the brothers in the blessings and delivered a moving d’var Torah.