By Sharon Wisch-Ray
When the unimaginable violence occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., last month, members of our local community were quick (as usual) to spring into action to offer comfort and support. I’d like to share a few of those instances here.
• Yavneh junior Dania Tanur, daughter of Monica and Eduardo Tanur, spearheaded a caring connection to the community of Sandy Hook Elementary. Through Yavneh’s families and friends, more than 170 stuffed animals and many condolence cards were collected.
A note of concern and compassion, along with four large boxes of the donations, were sent to Congregation Adath Israel, the home shul of the family of Noah Pozner, z”l.
• Akiba Academy parent Dana Feinstein, along with support from the Akiba PTA, led an effort to raise money toward gift cards for the Sandy Hook Elementary PTA. More than $1,400 was raised.
• Barry Rothschild, president of Peaches Uniforms, and his staff wanted to do something special for the Sandy Hook community. They came up with a promotion that allowed their customers to buy overstocked T-shirts for $5 each. Barry shared that they had sold about 590 shirts to customers around the country.
Then, one customer offered to match what the company had sold, yielding a total donation of $5,635, which went to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund.
Kol HaKavod to everyone involved.
CSI to honor Donsky, Pailet at Torah Fund brunch
It is the time of year when Conservative congregations in our community announce and celebrate their Torah Fund honorees.
As a part of Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, congregations Anshai Torah, Beth Torah and Shearith Israel support the Torah Fund with annual events to raise funds assuring that Conservative Jewish 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.
The Shearith Israel Sisterhood will hold the first event of the year, a champagne brunch, at 11:30 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 27 at the synagogue, 9401 Douglas Ave. in Dallas. The 2013 Torah Fund honorees are sisters-in-law Sandy Donsky and Marilyn Pailet.
The theme for this year’s national Torah Fund campaign is Uri Uri: Awake — Greet The New Dawn. Being roused to action is often just the prelude to awakening others by using our voices and networks to focus on the critical needs of our families and communities, our movement and our people. The imagery of dawn invokes an awareness of the challenges before us as well as our need to be alert to address them.
Sandy was raised in Shreveport, La., where she watched her parents participate in a variety of Jewish causes. After attending the University of Arizona and spending a brief time in New York, Sandy settled in Dallas and met her husband, Howard Donsky. They have been married 35 years and have a daughter Lauren, stepson David and a Bichon, Dylan.
While dedicated to serving her local Dallas community, Sandy also strives to participate in community building worldwide. She has served in numerous positions at the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas where she is a member of the board of trustees as well as the annual campaign co-chair.
In 1985, she received the Bess Nathan Young Leadership Award. Sandy has served on the National Young Leadership Cabinet of UJA. In 2010, Sandy was awarded the Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award at the International Lion of Judah Conference in New Orleans.
Sandy’s other passions include serving on the CSI board of directors, and she was a co-chair of CSI’s 13/125 weekend, volunteering at Attitudes and Attire, serving on the Legacy Senior Communities board of trustees, and American Jewish Committee board of directors.
Sandy has been involved in the real estate industry since 1973 and is with Ebby Halliday Realtors at the “Little White House.” She is the recipient of the 2011 LWH Community Service award and has been named on the D Magazine Best Real Estate Agent list. Sandy enjoys working with her fellow real-estate agents and clients.
A Dallas native, Pailet is a third-generation CSI member and was confirmed, married and became a bat mitzvah at the shul. After graduating from Newcomb College of Tulane University, Marilyn worked first as a teacher, then in the family business, Sterling Jewelers, serving as secretary/treasurer until the business closed in 1992.
Now in her 20th year with Ebby Halliday Realtors Preston Center, Marilyn has been honored several times by D Magazine as a Best Real Estate Agent. She is an alumna of Metrotex Leadership Academy and a member of the Women’s Council of Realtors.
Most recently, Marilyn was a committee chair for CSI’s 13/125 event as well as a co-chair for Shearith’s Scholar in Residence month with Noam Zion. She has also served on both the CSI board of directors and Sisterhood’s board.
In addition to serving CSI, Marilyn has served on many boards throughout the community including the JCC, the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, District 7 B’nai B’rith Women, United Jewish Communities National Women’s board and national Hillel.
She has been the recipient of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Frances Donsky Achievement Award and the Helen Gross Leadership Award. Along with her husband, Harrell, her children, grandchildren and parents of blessed memory, she was presented the L’Dor V’Dor Award by the State of Israel Bonds. Marilyn is an ardent AIPAC supporter.
Marilyn and Harrell will celebrate their 50th anniversary in June. They have four sons and three daughters-in-law: Eric, Jeffrey and Summer, Kevin and Mahra and David and Sarah; and six grandchildren.
All members of the community are invited to join Shearith at its Torah Fund brunch honoring Sandy and Marilyn, two women who exemplify the kind of leadership within the Jewish community and in the larger community that makes everyone proud.
Cost of the brunch is $32 with an additional $18 minimum donation to the Torah Fund. For more information, contact Karen Topletz (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Roz Benjet (email@example.com).
Beth Torah will honor Marilyn Guzick and Roberta Lazarus at its Torah Fund luncheon Feb. 10. Stay tuned for an upcoming column highlighting their myriad accomplishments. Anshai Torah has plans for its brunch in April, but as of press time, its honoree(s) had not been named.
Herzl Hadassah meeting and food drive
The Herzl Group of Hadassah will meet at 10 a.m., Monday, Jan. 14 in the Aaron Family JCC conference room. Terri Schepps, president of the Dallas chapter, will speak about Hadassah headlines for the coming year, including plans for the annual Herzl Lifesaver Luncheon in March.
Also, packaged or canned food for the JFS Food Pantry will be collected for Herzl’s annual Food Drive. All members and friends are encouraged to come. Coffee and cake will be served.
Documentary on suicide will air Friday
Allen Mondell and Cynthia Salzman Mondell’s documentary “A Reason to Live” will air at 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11 on KERA, Channel 13. The Mondells made this film after a friend’s son lost his battle with depression.
The filmmakers hope is that the film will erase the stigma of talking about depression and suicide and will make it easier for others to reach out to get help. The broadcast is sponsored by the Harry W. Bass Jr. Foundation.
SWJC to screen “Israel Inside” in Fort Worth
The Southwest Jewish Congress will head West next week. In cooperation with the Isadore Garsek Lodge of B’nai B’rith and HaShomer, SWJC will hold a special screening of the highly acclaimed documentary “Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference” at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 17, at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 4050 S. Hulen St. in Fort Worth. A Q&A session with Gil Elan, Southwest Jewish Congress president/ CEO, will follow.
Hosted by former Harvard lecturer Tal Ben-Shahar, the film explores how the Israelis, surrounded by enemies, have turned a desert with hardly any natural resources into a flourishing and productive society.
This event is free and open to the public, seating is limited. For more information contact Susan at 214-361-0018 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Mark Schor shared with us that for the first time in 48 years the Christmas Day Classic football game was not played. The game, first played in 1964 by a group of teenage Jewish Dallasites, has been a continuous occurrence at the JCC every Dec. 25. The game this year was cancelled due to rain and poor field conditions. The boys promise to be back next year.
• At press time, The Dallas Morning News Arts & Life section had just named the Aaron Family JCC the best gym for classes. The program developed by Terri Arends and her staff includes weekly classes on Aqua Flow, Row On & Core, Barre Blend, Tred-N-Burn Treadmill, Raise the Bar/Barbell, Dig Deep, Aqua Zumba and various spin and yoga classes. Also, PlayTri just became part of the J, so now there is a state-of-the-art cycling studio as well.
• It’s open house time for camps and schools. The JCC will hold its early childhood center’s open house at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 23. You can tour the school, meet parents and preview the J’s new outdoor Naturescape. Contact Tara Ohayon at 214-239-7157 or email@example.com to RSVP.
Jolene and Jayson Minsky will host an open house for Camp Bauercrest, from 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12 at their home. Rob Brockman, executive director will be on hand to explain about the camp’s programs, facilities and staff. For more information or to RSVP, contact the Minskys at 972-839-9447 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
From 3-5 p.m. The following day, Roger Friedman, director of Echo Hill Ranch will be at the home of Sharon and Alex Ray, 6535 Wickerwood Dr., for a camp reunion and to greet prospective campers and parents. For information, contact Sharon at 214-507-2662.