By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn
The Wisch Family friendship with Elya Naxon goes back almost half a century. Elya and her late husband, Bill, were always involved in charitable causes and socio-economic issues. In her later years, Elya still possesses that indefatigable spirit and is an example to all.
DME Exchange of Dallas launches friends group
“I’ve never been at the birthing of an organization,” said Elya Naxon, event chair that launched the Friends of DME Exchange of Dallas (Durable Medical Equipment). “The work that this group is doing is so important.”
The DME Exchange of Dallas is a nonprofit organization helping uninsured, underinsured and low income residents of Dallas County receive the durable medical equipment that they need for recovery from an accident, injury or assistance with a chronic condition. The agency collects donated equipment, repairs and sanitizes it, then distributes it to qualified Dallas County residents free of charge. No other organization addresses DME needs countywide.
It began in 2010 when Dallas Area Interfaith, a coalition of civic and religious institutions, surveyed Dallas County residents and discovered there were many who were unable to access the medical equipment they needed because they were uninsured, underinsured or had low incomes. This lack of access was identified as one of the top five issues needing attention in Dallas.
The launch party was hosted by Gail and Dr. Peter Loeb and co-chaired by Delores and Dr. Lawrence Barzune and Karen and Walter Levy. Dr. Ron Anderson, former CEO and president of Parkland Hospital and Health System and founder of the Dallas County Community Health Initiative, was the featured guest speaker. Anderson said that he’d been aware of the desperate need for DME to help patients recover more quickly, return home sooner, and go back to work earlier. “An estimated 25,000-50,000 people annually in Dallas County will go without life-changing equipment because they cannot afford it,” he said.
Dr. Stan Pomarantz, president of the DME Exchange of Dallas board, is keenly aware of the need for DME because of his work with Parkland Hospital. One day, he opened up his garage door and saw his mother’s wheelchair gathering dust. “There must be thousands of pieces of equipment stashed in people’s garages, attics and closets. Why not recycle them and give them to people who need them now?” thought Pomarantz.
“I know from my work as an occupational therapist how important the proper equipment is during a patient’s recovery,” Naxon said. “Without proper equipment, a patient may suffer complications in recovery or possibly be re-injured. Members of the Friends of DME Exchange of Dallas will dramatically help improve a person’s quality of life.”
“Right now, we have an urgent need for wheelchairs and shower chairs,” said Pomarantz. The agency also collects home hospital beds, walkers, rollators, bedside commodes, crutches, tub transfer benches and patient lifts.
Texas Jewish Arts Association: a new (Texas) State-of-the-Art Group in formation
Last May, the Dallas Jewish Historical Society organized an evening called in the “Eye of the Beholder.” Following a brief lecture about the nature of Jewish art presented by Nancy Cohen Israel, 19 local Jewish artists exhibited their remarkable work. The event attracted more than 200 people and, by all accounts, was deemed a huge success!
Small groups present at that gathering have been working to capitalize on the energy of that evening and organized a group called the Texas Jewish Art Association. Open to both visual artists and those who work in the art world, its goal is to foster a sense of camaraderie through informational and educational gatherings and exhibition opportunities.
Much thought has been given to formulating an organization such this.
TJAA is the inaugural Jewish fine arts organization in Texas. TJAA was based on the premise that throughout Jewish history, Jews have moved and adapted, but their core is immutable. The Jewish people have always survived and have accomplished substantial goals by being flexible. On that evening last year, they joyfully rediscovered that although they were all different, and work in vastly different ways, they were one people after all, but with a single center.
In January of this year, the organization had its first meeting, assembling 25 like-minded artists and others in the field. The enthusiasm and excitement in the room was palpable. Serving as their spokeswoman, Nancy Israel outlined how the idea originated and delineated their vision.
The TJAA already has its first exhibition planned and arrangements are underway with the Aaron Family JCC to host the exhibit in the fall.
If you’ve read this far, perhaps you are an artist or know an artist, or someone in the art field who may be looking for an opportunity to be a part of this innovative and distinctive new group. If you are an artist, art historian, gallerist, art lover or collector, the group hopes that you join them as they embark on this exciting journey.
If you have an expertise in any of the following areas, your assistance is greatly needed. The TJAA is starting from the ground up and will be assembling a steering committee/board plus exhibition and education committees. They also need those who are proficient in social media, publicity and website design.
The TJAA will host a membership kick-off meeting from 4-6 p.m., Sunday, May 4. This will be a meet and greet event where they will discuss exhibition opportunities, the groups’ structure, vision and future goals. In addition, the TJAA will announce a logo competition that will be voted on by “dues paying” members. Please contact Veronique Jonas at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the organization or meeting details.
Don’t miss this opportunity to be an integral part of an artist-run organization! Jewish artists and promoting dialogue about Jewish identity and related issues among members of the arts community commit the group to encouraging visual art.