Dallas Doings
By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn

ADL’s Roberta Clark receives prestigious FBI award

FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Diego Rodriguez recently announced the selection of Roberta Clark as the Dallas division’s recipient of the 2013 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award. SAC Rodriguez recognized Ms. Clark at the Anti-Defamation League’s Larry Schoenbrun Jurisprudence Award luncheon Monday, Dec. 2, 2013.

Roberta Clark is presented with the 2013 Director’s Community Leadership Award by FBI Dallas SAC Diego Rodriguez. | Photo: ADL
Roberta Clark is presented with the 2013 Director’s Community Leadership Award by FBI Dallas SAC Diego Rodriguez. | Photo: ADL

The Director’s Community Leadership Award was formally created in 1990 as a way to honor individuals and organizations for their efforts in combating crime, terrorism, drugs and violence in America and is selected based on nominations from each of the FBI’s 56 field offices. Recipients of this award are recognized for their service above and beyond the call of duty to help keep America and its residents safe.
Clark is the Anti-Defamation League’s community director for the North Texas/Oklahoma Region and a 2009 graduate of the Dallas FBI’s Citizens Academy. Her work has created strong liaison partnerships with community leaders, educators, interfaith leaders, law enforcement professionals and others. She further enhances these relationships by offering education and training opportunities to identify and prevent hate crimes and extremism.
SAC Rodriguez said, “Ms. Clark is devoted to educating law enforcement and the public, as well as providing guidance and assistance to community members who believe they have been the victims of discrimination or hate crimes. Her commitment, and her partnership with the FBI, makes her the Dallas recipient of the 2013 Director’s Community Leadership Award.”
Clark will attend a formal ceremony in April 2014, in Washington, D.C., where she, along with recipients from across the country, will be presented with the award by FBI Director James B. Comey.

Rabbi Michael Kushnick installed at Anshai Torah

Hundreds of congregants filled the sanctuary Friday, Nov. 1 at Congregation Anshai Torah to welcome Shabbat and participate in the installation of Rabbi Michael Kushnick. Deb Silverthorn submitted the news on behalf of Anshai Torah.
Kushnick, a native Dallasite, stated: “I came to the rabbinate at a time that is challenging, but that is not news to us.” Kushnick was raised in Florida, and aspired to become a rabbi since his early teens. Additionally he said “we’ve never before had as many opportunities, and religious freedom as we do now. It is a privilege to be here as a teacher, and friend of this community, and it’s something I take great honor in.”
“Anshai Torah has embraced the Kushnick family, and it has been my personal pleasure to welcome them to our shul, to our community and indeed, into the rabbinate,” said Rabbi Stefan Weinberg, who singularly led Anshai Torah since its inception almost 15 years ago.
Joining Kushnick’s family and sharing in the installation of his former student, now colleague and friend, was Rabbi Daniel Nevins, Pearl Resnick dean of The Rabbinical School and dean of the Division of Religious Leadership of The Jewish Theological Seminary. Kushnick was a May graduate of the JTS. In addition to being his mentor, Nevins officiated at the 2009 marriage of the Kushnicks.
“It was an honor to teach Rabbi Kushnick and to see him go from being a kind, thoughtful person, to become such an intense lover and leader of Torah, is incredible,” said Nevins, noting that he and Kushnick began at JTS together six years ago, he as dean, Kushnick as student. “He has a humility and lack of pretension, a likeability that is genuine, and a true love for our tradition.”
Congregation Anshai Torah has grown from 150 families to more than 475 and “we are no longer the ‘little shul that could,’” said Board President Michelle Meiches, “we’re the wonderful shul that is.”
“In just four months here I’ve seen life cycles celebrated from baby namings to b’nai mitzvah, from auf-rufs to funerals, and it’s an awesome sensibility to already feel a part of our congregants’ lives,” said Kushnick, who celebrated his installation with his parents, Gwen and Dr. Richard Kushnick, as well as Talia’s mother Jill Saravay, her sister Rachel Andron, nephew Ezra Andron and uncle Josh Levin. “Talia, Nadav and I couldn’t be more appreciative of the welcome that’s been shared.”
Talia Kushnick has made her own local imprints as outreach liaison for the PEI (Policy Education Initiative) team at the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and the Institute for Curriculum Services: National Resource Center for Accurate Jewish Content in Schools. The role provides for her to create and support networks of Jewish parents of children in public schools, fostering a better understanding of and appreciation for Jewish contributions to Western civilization, history, culture and the world’s religions.

‘The Middle’ to host its third annual New Year’s Eve Bash

A note from Gloria Stayman, creator and founder of “The Middle,” shared that they will host the third annual New Year’s Eve Bash at the home of Stacey and Henry Clark at 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 31. There will be a DJ, dance floor, food, drinks, party favors and a promise that a “wonderful time will be had by all!”
Featured entertainment is Maco Amoyo, who has been the DJ since the inception of “The Middle.” He plays requests and the dance floor is busy throughout the night. In the past, this gathering has drawn crowds of more than 65 attendees to celebrate and enjoy the festivities.
The group is open to anyone of post-carpool through empty-nester age and of any shul affiliation can gather (mostly at host homes) to make new friends, celebrate Havdallah, schmooze and snack, at no charge (with the exception of New Year’s Eve to cover the cost of the DJ and the food). They meet monthly and have a great time with the all-inclusive/non-exclusive group of warm, welcoming friends.
There is no membership fee, so that all are able to join in the fun. Members of “The Middle” enjoy yearly Purim celebration, complete with costumes and karaoke (at Beth Torah) and a Secular New Year’s Eve party with a DJ. “We have a blast,” Stayman said.
The New Year’s Eve Bash is $20 per person and open to anyone who would like to attend, though an R.S.V.P. is required by Dec. 28. To R.S.V.P., for more information, or to be added to the email list, please call 214-364-9307, or email Gloria Stayman at gloinplano@gmail.com.

PJ Library wishes Sammy Spider a happy 20th

Children and parents are invited to celebrate Sammy Spider’s 20th birthday from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 22 at the Mankoff Center for Jewish Learning  at the Aaron Family JCC, at 7900 Northaven Road. Children will help Sammy celebrate his birthday with story time, snacks and fun activities. Please bring Sammy a birthday present — a new, unwrapped toddler toy or book to donate to Medical City of Dallas Children’s Hospital. Register to attend by contacting Beth Seltzer at pjlibrary@jfgd.org or calling 214-239-7193.
PJ Library is a program that provides free Jewish-themed books and music CDs monthly to children from 6 months through 8 years.

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