By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn
It is hard to believe that my nephew, Benjamin Ray, son of Sharon Wisch-Ray and Alex Ray, is graduating from Richardson High School next week.
I could not help remember the surprise in store for me on the evening of my own high school graduation many decades ago. I had just been handed my diploma, when my parents, the late Rene and Jimmy Wisch, pulled me aside to tell me that the family was getting a wonderful graduation present. They proceeded to tell me that my mom was pregnant. I remember the excitement so well.
Sharon was born the week that I left for Stephens College. She was an adorable and perfect baby, and of course, being far away, I missed her immensely. When I returned home after college, Sharon became my “roommate” until I left home.
Although, I am fairly certain, that there are no such surprises in store for Benjamin and his brothers, Sam and Jimmy, I want to wish him the best at Texas A&M. Ben is the grandson of Jane and the late Gayle Ray.
That same weekend, I will more than likely shed a tear or two, as my granddaughter, Elizabeth “Shea” Doty, daughter of Amy Davidsohn Doty and Tim Doty, (and sister, Jessica) celebrates her bat mitzvah at Nishmat Am in Plano. Shea is the granddaughter of Eli Davidsohn of Plano and Bruce and Phyllis Doty of Carrollton. She is the great-granddaughter of Mary “Omi” Davidsohn of Houston.
These markers on the road map of life become the memories that keep us all connected.
Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger named interfaith scholar
Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger has been named a Memnosyne Institute Interfaith Scholar, a program initiated by The Center for Interfaith Inquiry at the Memnosyne Institute in Dallas. The Institute’s interfaith efforts bring together scholars and practitioners of all faiths who seek common ground for understanding and practical service to humanity through a cooperative and collaborative approach.
Rabbi Schlesinger is the newest addition to the Interfaith Scholars initiative.
He joins the Memnosyne Institute with over 20 years’ experience in teaching Jewish studies, dividing his time between Dallas and Israel at various colleges of Jewish studies, synagogues, seminaries, mosques and churches. He currently serves as founder, executive director and community rabbinic scholar of the Jewish Studies Initiative of North Texas. Rabbi Schlesinger was previously affiliated with the Community Kollel of Dallas for five years.
Rabbi Schlesinger is a member of the Rabbinical Council of America and the International Rabbinic Fellowship, as well as a member of the Rabbinic Association of Greater Dallas. He is a recipient of a Rabbis Without Borders Fellowship, which is sponsored by the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. He also created “Faiths in Conversation,” a Jewish, Christian, Muslim interfaith dialogue series sponsored by the Memnosyne Institute, where he is also a leader and participant.
The Memnosyne Institute’s mission is to help the diverse people of the world consciously encourage an evolution for themselves and for future generations by providing mankind with the means to encourage positive, peaceful global collaboration in areas of knowledge.
Founders of the Memnosyne Foundation are Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk and her husband, Joshua Frenk.
The Frenks stated that “they are delighted to select Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger as an interfaith scholar and feel he will be an excellent representative of the goals that Memnosyne seeks: understanding through the peaceful open exchange of ideas, fostering shared human values, establishing opportunities to unite in thought and collaborating in action, and promoting global peace by recognizing the value of each individual’s knowledge.”
Both founders emphatically stated that Rabbi Schlesinger’s knowledge of Judaism from the perspective of his advanced Jewish studies, sharp mind, leadership skills and community experience make him an ideal addition to the Scholar’s Program.
Rev. Dr. Todd A. Collier, director of the Center for Interfaith Inquiry at Memnosyne Institute says they are “very excited that Rabbi Schlesinger is now our second scholar in this newly forming embryonic program, and trust that his enthusiasm, wit and scholarship will add so much to our growing faculty of scholars.”
The Memnosyne Institute, through its many programs, including philanthropy and vision for a Campus for Humanity, is an important leader envisioning Dallas as a destination city for cross- cultural collaboration, discovery and education.
Congratulations to Rabbi Schlesinger on this achievement.
Laurie Miller Launches CoLodging Concept in DFW
The CoLodging Club is a new concept developed to assist baby boomers and seniors who will benefit from the social interaction, healthier lifestyle and financial advantages one realizes through sharing their home with another person.
Laurie Miller, owner of Apple Care & Companion, a Dallas based non-medical home care agency, started CoLodging Club after realizing, through her connections with baby boomers who are caring for their parents, that most of them are not interested in moving to independent living complexes or assisted living facilities as the need arises. They would rather stay at home.
Often times, these boomers choose to live alone, but documented studies have shown that living with someone else is beneficial in many ways.
Among lifestyle advantages are the following:
Social connections are a must for successful living; sharing life’s rollercoaster with someone else; making life easier when transitioning through difficult life stages such as divorce or loss of a spouse; it may eliminate feelings of loneliness and isolation; it is eco-friendly through the sharing of resources.
Financial advantages can include: splitting rent or receiving rental income; sharing expenses such as food, utilities and other mutual expenses; having a “built-in” companion to help with the activities of daily living; sharing the cost of in-home care should it be needed; if one travels, it saves money on a house or pet sitter.
There appear to be health benefits as well which include: cultivating healthier habits such as eating better meals, trying new foods and having an exercise/walking partner; building emotional connections which in turn build self-esteem and confidence; increasing happiness by diminishing depression while increasing social interaction and life enrichment. It can lead to a healthier brain and help build one’s cognitive reserves thus lessening dementia risks.
CoLodging Club will hold members-only weekly live events to “mix and mingle” with other potential house mates. The events will be held in public places and will be facilitated by CoLodging Club staff.
People will get to meet each other face to face and will be able to determine on their own which member might be a good fit for them to share a living space.
There will also be an educational component from an expert in different fields pertinent to shared housing, such as an attorney who can advise on leases or a private investigator who can give advice on background checks.
CoLodging Club is a safe alternative to running an ad on craigslist or Roommates.com.
Laurie Miller was born and reared in Dallas. She graduated from The Greenhill School and The University of Texas at Austin, where she received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing. She and her husband, Mark Miller (also a native Dallasite) have two children, a daughter, Corie, 21, a student at Washington University in St. Louis, and a son, Jeff, 17, who attends Plano West Senior High. Laurie and Mark have been married for almost 24 years.
Laurie is the current president of The Dallas Area Gerontological Society. For additional information about the CoLodging Club, visit the website at www.CoLodgingClub.com or call 972-802-1104. For more information on Apple Care & Companion, visit their website at www.AppleCareandCompanion.com or call 469-619-5474.
More on Zane Belyea
Good wishes are due to Zane Belyea, who joined Sparkman-Hillcrest as a Family Services Counselor. Zane, a native of Silverdale, Washington, is married to Jill Lieberman Belyea. They are the parents of two sons, Dylan, 7, and Zachary, 5.
Zane received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Social Work degree from The University of Southern Illinois, where he played college baseball. Prior to joining the Sparkman-Hillcrest team, he was the marketing and recruiting vice-president for a cadre of career colleges.
As a Family Services Counselor, Zane’s current focus is to educate and communicate end of life decisions with families. “By making decisions while you are ‘young,’ one is able to clearly communicate their wishes to your family and alleviate a financial burden at the time of loss.”
Zane likes to sit down with families and provide a free planning guide. He assists them as they assess their needs and wishes, and offers them assistance in putting a plan together.
This process can be both an emotional and financial ordeal. Therefore, Belyea says that “it is better to do it when it is not an emotional crisis or last minute decision when families find themselves in the midst of grief. Planning early takes the burden off the family.”
Belyea continued by saying that there is a financial benefit to pre-planning, since funeral costs and the price of cemetery plots rises annually. Typically, the cost of a Jewish funeral is between $7,000 and $12,000. Data has shown that funeral costs double every seven to 10 years. Life insurance policies do not pay for funerals; however, a pre-arranged, prepaid funeral life insurance policy can ease the burden for survivors.
Zane also stated that the baby boomer generation has currently reached the time in life in which pre-planning should be more of a priority.
Zane, Jill, Dylan and Zachary are members of Congregation Anshai Torah in Plano. Zane is actively involved in the Men’s Club at the synagogue. He is a member of the Youth Sports Committee at the JCC. He coaches his son, Dylan’s, baseball team, “The Giants,” and when not working, volunteering or spending time with his family, Zane plays in The Temple Shalom Softball League.
He can be reached through Sparkman-Hillcrest at 214-771-6480 (dial 1).