Dallas Doings
By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn

Opportunities to support the day school community at Akiba and Levine academies

Play a risk-free game of blackjack, poker, roulette or craps, and “place your bets” for a good cause, at Akiba Academy’s second casino night at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 21. The school is located at 12324 Merit Drive in Dallas.
Where else could one receive $2,000 in “play” money with a small entrance fee of $36? The fee will cover appetizers, water and soda, and for those purchasing a $10 wristband, unlimited beer and wine is available. Premium drinks may be purchased as well.
The event is simply meant to be a fun night out for everyone who attends, said Julia Kaufman, who is co-chairing the event with Rachel Alexander. It’s a way to support the school while also socializing with friends, Kaufman said.
“This helps raise money for Akiba, but at the same time, guests are having fun,” she said. “We choose to send our children to Akiba because of the Jewish ideals they are taught there, which in turn benefits the Jewish community as a whole. We want everyone to come.”
Akiba held its first casino night in May, and this, along with the annual gala, are the school’s two biggest fundraisers. All money raised from admission and beverages benefits the PTA, which in turn goes back to the school for activities, supplies and teachers’ needs.
In addition to casino play, highlights of the evening also includes a prize bar, photo booth and music. Items donated as prizes range from grocery store gift cards and jewelry to a staycation at the Joule Hotel, a Google Chromebook, a Starpower gift card and more. At the end of the night, guests will trade their winnings for raffle tickets, which they can use to enter drawings for their favorite prizes.
Another unique aspect of the event is that all Akiba teachers are invited to attend free of charge. Those who are unable to attend can sponsor teachers.
“This is a way to show the teachers that we appreciate them and the school,” Alexander said. “We hope they come and bring their spouses and friends. We are all busy parents with crazy schedules, but the casino night is a way to come and have people enjoy themselves.”
Alexander and Kaufman agree that the casino night will garner interest from everyone because of its fun, laid-back atmosphere.
“The first casino night was wonderful, and we are looking forward to having people from the whole community attend,” Kaufman said. “There is something for everyone, whether they have children or not. This helps keep our school strong.”
Added Alexander: “This is going to be a really fun night. It benefits our school, and our schools benefit our community.”
For more information and to buy tickets, call 214-295-3400 or visit http://akibaptacasinoroyale.eventbrite.com/.
Ann and Nate Levine Academy will host its Texas Hold’em poker tournament from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15 benefiting Levine’s scholarship fund programs. Organizers are hoping this will become an annual event.
The first place prize is a $10,000 seat at the World Series of Poker Tournament. WOW, what an opportunity! Additional prizes are a stay in a beautiful condo in Breckenridge, Colo. jewelry, restaurant gift certificates and much more.
The event is open to all members of the community, but one must be more than 21 to play.
For further information go to the Levine Academy website at http://www.levineacademy.org/ or call Al James at Levine at 972-248-3032.
Committee chairs for the event are Jeff Romick, Leora Azoulay, Eddy and Taryn Daniels, Chuck Butler, Michael Reiman, Howard Hacker and Caryn Gomar.

Congregation Shearith Israel “SISter To SISter Author Series” features Jen Lancaster

On Thursday, Nov. 21, Jen Lancaster, New York Times best-selling author of “The Tao Of Martha,” will share her hilarious tale of a year spent emulating Martha Stewart in her book. Lancaster will headline the fifth annual “SISter to SiSter” author talk, auction and dinner. Open to the public, this event raises important funds for programs and services provided for Congregation Shearith Israel families including youth and adult education, events and community service projects.
Lancaster is The New York Times best-selling author of “My Fair Lazy,” “Bitter Is the New Black,” “Pretty in Plaid,” “Such a Pretty Fat” and “Bright Lights, Big Ass.” Her most recent book, “The Tao of Martha,” follows Lancaster as she immerses herself in Martha Stewart’s media empire. She embarks on a yearlong quest to take herself, her house, her husband (and maybe even her pets) to the next level — from closet organization to craft making, from party planning to kitchen prep. A nationally syndicated monthly columnist for Tribune Media Services’ Humor Hotel, Jen has appeared on “Today,” “The Joy Behar Show” and NPR’s “All Things Considered.” She resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband and their ever-expanding menagerie of ill-behaved pets.
The event is co-chaired by Cynthia Cohen, Sheryl Pidgeon and Deborah Leshefsky. The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a silent auction, wine and hors d’oeuvres. Dinner will begin at 7 p.m. followed by the guest speaker at 8 p.m. and a subsequent book signing.
It will take place in Congregation Shearith Israel’s Kaplan Auditorium, 9401 Douglas Avenue. The $65 fee for the event includes dinner and wine. For more information contact, Sheryl Pidgeon, at 214-476-8131 or Sheryl@slpcompany.com.
The SISterhood of Congregation Shearith Israel reaches out to all members to create a feeling of belonging through study, community service and social activities. Through the acts of fundraising, SISterhood helps support Congregation Shearith Israel, the community, Israel and Jewish education.

Beth Torah Education Director Ruth Schor welcomes families and pets to the pet blessing ceremony at the Richardson synagogue. | Submitted photo
Beth Torah Education Director Ruth Schor welcomes families and pets to the pet blessing ceremony at the Richardson synagogue. | Submitted photo

Congregation Beth Torah holds special ceremony for animals

Congregation Beth Torah recently held its third annual Blessing of the Animals.  Rabbi Rafi Cohen bestowed special blessings and Educational Director Ruth Schor shared verses from the Torah that teaches all about the importance of treating animals with care and love.
The dogs were given Hebrew names and the pets’ owners were informed that “Bark Mitzvah” dates were also available upon demand. The pets were given special treats. It was said that participants “were barking and meowing around — a real fun Chewish day!

Mike Jacobs will receive award for excellence in Holocaust education this Saturday

Bar-Ilan University’s School of Communication announced on Nov. 5 that Mike Jacobs, a founder and past president of the Holocaust Survivors in Dallas and founder of the Dallas Memorial Center for Holocaust Studies in Dallas, will be recognized for his tireless and vocal endeavors in educating young audiences on the Holocaust. Professor Eytan Gilboa, director of Bar Ilan University’s School of Communication, and Sharon Evans, director for International Project Development at Bar-Ilan University’s School of Communication, will present the award to Mr. Jacobs at a dedication ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9 in the Beck Family Sanctuary at Congregation Shearith Israel, at 9401 Douglas Avenue.
“Mr. Jacobs has touched countless lives through his dedicated service and commitment to Jewish education and the Jewish community at large,” Gilboa said. “He has a remarkable ability to engage the next generation to ensure that the memories and lessons of the Holocaust will not be forgotten in years to come. His universal message of hope is vital for the future of the Jewish people and reinforces the relevance and necessity of the State of Israel.”
Jacobs, an enthusiastic speaker and dedicated member of the Dallas Jewish community, frequently lectures on the Holocaust at high schools, churches, civic groups and universities. A survivor of Auschwitz, Birkenau and Mathausen-Guesen II concentration camps, he has invested endless effort and energy in educating young audiences on the Holocaust. Jacobs has resolutely committed himself to passing on the history of the Jewish people to the next generation, ensuring that the lessons of the Holocaust are reinforced and never forgotten.
Gilboa and Evans are currently visiting Dallas with a delegation of experts from the fields of political science, economics, women’s rights, law and policymaking as a part of the “Israel Up-Close 2014” multi-city US tour. The delegation has joined forces to present an objective and academic overview of pressing Middle East issues and trends in an effort to promote open dialogue about Israel.

Leave a Reply