By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn
Cong. Beth Torah Sisterhood names Shirley Strauss 2014 Torah Fund honoree Feb. 9
My colleague, Harriet Gross, recently shared that Congregation Beth Torah Sisterhood is proud to name Shirley Strauss as its 2014 Torah Fund honoree. Shirley will be recognized at the synagogue’s annual Torah Fund brunch at Noon Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Addison Crowne Plaza Hotel, 14315 Midway Road.
The Conservative synagogue will soon celebrate the 40th anniversary of its founding, and this year’s Torah Fund theme, “Family,” is especially fitting since Shirley and Larry Strauss were the 13th family unit to affiliate with the congregation. Awaiting the birth of their first child when they moved to Dallas, Shirley spotted a newspaper article about Beth Torah’s startup. As an original member of the fledgling sisterhood, she has been an active, staunch supporter of all its many programs and projects ever since.
That first Strauss child, Brian, now 41, is a Conservative rabbi, serving Congregation Beth Yeshuran in Houston. The couple’s two younger sons are Brad, 38, who works for AT&T in Dallas, and Brandon, 31, a Houston attorney.
Shirley was born in the small town of Duncan, Okla., where “most of the Jews were members of my family,” she says. She was an OU senior when she met Larry, an Air Force veteran working in Oklahoma City after his return from service in Japan. They married a month after her graduation.
Larry, who will introduce his wife at the event, has served as president of both the congregation and its Men’s Club. However, Shirley has always preferred to work behind the scenes, focusing her efforts for synagogue and sisterhood on membership, adult education and her very favorite — fundraising. Shirley says “That’s my passion! I love making those phone calls, especially for Jewish causes.” Her contribution to the community was publicly recognized when she was named the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Campaigner of the Year in 2012. Other organizations that benefit from her work include the Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association and Bnai Zion.
In Dallas, Shirley worked with Larry in the electronics business he founded. Since retirement, they have made four mission trips to Israel, two with the Federation and two with Bnai Zion.
Everyone who enters Beth Torah passes through the foyer dedicated to the memory of Shirley’s mother, Henia Schiff, a Holocaust survivor who lost her entire immediate family in Poland. She came to Oklahoma to join her American relatives, and later married one of her cousins — Shirley’s father, now 90.
The Strausses pass through that foyer every Friday evening as regular attendees at Erev Shabbat services. They’re absent only when vacationing in Nevada, which they do often enough to have joined another shul there.
Among those planning to attend as Shirley is honored will be the three Strauss sons, their wives and the eight grandchildren who will say the HaMotzi together before the meal. Cost of the dairy brunch is $36; a minimum donation of $18 per person is required in support of the Torah Fund. Donors of $180, $360 and more receive special recognition in the form of the annual Torah Fund pin, which this year represents the 2014 theme of “Mishpacha.”
Further information is available from Elaine Scharf, 972-307-3521, email@example.com, who is also taking reservations.
Torah Fund events are held annually by sisterhoods in the Women’s League of Conservative Judaism. Contributions benefit four institutions that train the movement’s rabbis, cantors and educators: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York; Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, Los Angeles; Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem; and Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano, Buenos Aires.
The forthcoming event will be Beth Torah Sisterhood’s 21st annual Torah Fund brunch; the first was held in 1994 recognizing Esther Cohen, who continues her synagogue involvement today as co-president of the sisterhood. Following this sisterhood’s long-standing tradition, all previous honorees make up the brunch planning committee, with the most recent serving as chairs. This year, the committee is headed by Roberta Lazarus and Marilyn Guzick, who were jointly honored in 2013.
The J and Habitat for Humanity announce 2014 Building Together T-shirt contest
The J and Habitat for Humanity have come together once again to encourage artists, professionals, youth amateurs and teens 16 years or older to submit their design for a T-shirt. If a contestant is under 16 years old, they may still participate with an entry submitted on their behalf by a parent or guardian.
Entries must be received by Sunday, March 2 no later than 5 p.m.
Designs must not be larger than 8.5 x 11 inches. You may use any medium: from paints, photography and colors, to digital designs, etc. All graphics should be designed for a single-sided, centered screen-printed placement, and use of 4 or fewer colors is ideal. Each person’s preferred T-shirt color will be considered. All artwork must be original. All other work will be disqualified.
There is no charge for participation in the challenge.
Individuals may submit one design, via email to Jaycee Greenblatt, Jgreenblatt@dallas-habitat.org as a pdf or high-resolution jpeg (300 dpi or higher to be able to print in decent quality). If you are submitting a pdf, it must be a vector art/line art file not to exceed 5MB in size, or mail design along with the official entry form to: Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, C/ O Jaycee Greenblatt, 2800 N. Hampton Road, Dallas, TX 75212
This project is in conjunction with the communitywide Habitat build that will begin in April.
For additional information and official entry forms, contact Abbii Cook at The J at 214-239-7189.
Beth Torah Preschool to host casino night fundraiser
The Congregation Beth Torah Preschool is hosting its second annual casino night Saturday, Feb.1, the night before the Super Bowl.
The football-themed fundraiser, titled “Jerseys & Jokers,” benefits the Richardson synagogue’s preschool and kindergarten program, which serves children 18 months and up.
The casino party, which begins at 7:30 p.m., includes food, prizes, a poker tournament and an auction. Tickets begin at $25, and the public is welcome.
Beth Torah is located at 720 W. Lookout Drive in Richardson, near the crossroads of Central Expressway and the Bush Turnpike. For more information or to register, call the synagogue at 972-234-1542 or log on to www.congregationbethtorah.org.
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