Dallas Doings

Dallas Jewish youth improve the world through J-Serve program
Between 50 and 100 Jewish young people in Dallas are expected to participate in a day of community service and improvement projects as they take part in J-Serve, a national day of volunteerism and engagement, on April 26.
Teens will participate in several service projects around Dallas such as helping at two retirement homes, Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, Vogel Alcove, Jewish Family Services, E-Quest and (with USO) welcoming soldiers back home at the airport.
This year marks the fourth in which thousands of Jewish youth from coast to coast will turn out in force for J-Serve, designed to encourage Jewish service, community building and creation of connections across religious and societal lines.
J-Serve 2009 is a collaboration of PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values and the Jewish Coalition for Service, with additional support by partner agencies and foundations.
“What makes J-Serve so powerful is that it enables the entire Jewish community to act in a unified fashion, transcending denominational and institutional lines,” said Rabbi Sid Schwarz, president and founder of PANIM. “J-Serve empowers teens by making them aware that through service they can become positive change agents — fulfilling the Jewish mandate to bring tzedek, justice, to the world. The fact that thousands of teens participate in J-Serve annually shows the commitment of the Jewish people to service as well as the strength of the unified Jewish community.”
Approximately 12,000 teens will participate in service programs in 60 cities, large and small, from coast to coast.
J-Serve 2009 is the Jewish service component of the annual Global Youth Service Day of Youth Service America. J-Serve 2008 generated 65 community service projects across the country and attracted 10,000 teen volunteers.
Those interested in participating in a J-Serve project can find additional information on the J-Serve Web site, www.jserve.org.
JFGD names Paige Rothstein for Special Needs Initiative
A community organizer has been appointed for the Dallas Special Needs Initiative. Paige Rothstein comes to the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas (JFGD) from the Cincinnati, Ohio region, where she worked in the field of municipal government specializing in economic development. Her expertise includes connecting businesses with resources, leading the development of a downtown revitalization effort and overseeing a number of volunteers to accomplish the community’s goals. “I believe that Paige Rothstein brings the professional experience to this position that will enable us to bring together all of the diverse stakeholders in our community. I feel confident that Paige will successfully navigate the Special Needs Initiative from the strategic planning process to become a vital community resource impacting the lives of hundreds if not thousands in our community,” said Meyer Denn, executive director of the Center for Jewish Education.
JFGD’s Special Needs Initiative kicked off in 2008 with a community retreat meeting in June and a community awareness program in September. Louis Zweig, lay chairman of the ­Special Needs Initiative, said: “The Special Needs Initiative is making great progress as we bring together the best and the brightest to create a blueprint for the future. I look forward to our upcoming events and to building bridges between our special needs community and the resources they need to enhance their lives.”
Since the Initiative’s inception, a Leadership Committee has been established and identified five priorities to accomplish in 2009. Families with children who have special needs can look forward to upcoming outreach events; further teacher training in the preschools, religious schools and day schools; the establishment of benchmarks and standards for schools; and both an online and an in-house resource center within the Mankoff Center for Jewish Learning.
If you would like to participate in the Special Needs Initiative or have resources that will help provide children with a fulfilling Jewish education and Jewish life, contact Paige Rothstein at 214-239-7192 or prothstein@jfgd.org.
The Special Needs Initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas is a consortium of several organizations working to assist children with special needs. This initiative is building on a small foundation of services already in existence for this population. A steering committee has been created to explore these services, as well as develop and implement a strategic plan that will reach out to the broadest definition of the special needs community.
Klezmer concert at Emanu-El, April 26
The Joy of Klezmer concert will feature The Best Little Klezmer Band in Texas on Sunday, April 26, at 4 p.m. in Tobian Auditorium at Temple Emanu-El.
Comedian Jackie Mason said of the Little Klezmer Band, “They’re perfect! So authentic … they play it straight from the heart.” Violinist virtuoso Itzhak Perlman commented, “Now that’s good shlep! Your new CD’s a mamaloshen delight,” and composer-pianist Marvin Hamlisch added, “Your music lifts our spirits. Keep up the good work.”
What do you get when you combine the rollicking sounds of a Russian circus and the jazzy rhythms of the Roaring ‘20s and Swingin’ ‘30s?  — klezmer music! Enjoy this fantastic afternoon of spirited fun and music, the third installment of the Temple Emanu-El Arts Series (Showcase 2009).
Under the direction of Marcia Sterling and Dan Strba, The Best Little Klezmer Band in Texas is dedicated to the presentation, preservation and revitalization of Yiddish culture through their live performances.
Like the blues, klezmer music’s roots are emphatically ethnic, but the emotions it expresses are universal.
Brought to this country by Eastern European Jewish immigrants, it endured decades of near-oblivion before being rediscovered in the mid-1970s by a new generation of musicians. The Yiddish word “klezmer,” from the Hebrew klei (instrument) and zemer (music or tune), originally referred only to musical instruments. Over time, the distinction between the musicians and their instruments blurred, and the term is now used to describe the whole genre of instrumental folk music native to Yiddish-speaking Jews.
Although klezmer music had its origins in Jewish tradition, it was strongly influenced by the folk music of the surrounding cultures and the joyous fervor of Chassidism, a Jewish religious movement. Once in America, klezmer musicians adopted techniques and rhythms associated with this country’s popular dance music. The music manages to capture the poignancy and fragility of life while emphasizing its joys.
The Best Little Klezmer Band in Texas brings the old world to life by reviving Yiddish music from the old country and America’s immigrant generation. The band infuses its spirited performances of Jewish folk songs and traditional wedding dances, haunting lyrical melodies of East European Jews, fiery virtuosic Gypsy showpieces, and dazzling theater music with an electrifying world-beat. Their album, “Schleppin’ West,” has received critical acclaim for its “enchanting musical renderings as clever as they are invigorating” and “the Texas spin making new inroads on Jewish swing.”
For ticket information, visit www.tedallas.org/showcase, or call 214-696-3273.
Boy Scout Troop 729 to hold open house on April 27
If you like fishing, camping, shooting compound bows, rifles and other outdoor activities, join in the adventure of Boy Scouts! Troop 729, sponsored by the Temple Emanu-El Brotherhood since 1919, will have an open house on Monday, April 27, at Preston Hollow Elementary, 6423 Walnut Hill Lane, at 7:30 p.m. You can also visit www.troop729.org for more information.

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