By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn
It is always good to hear from my former neighbors Jerry and Deanna Kasten, who work tirelessly for the Dallas Jewish War Veterans (JWV) and its Ladies Auxiliary. Here is the story in Jerry’s own words:
Dallas Jewish War Veterans (JWV) and Ladies Auxiliary brings Christmas Mitzvah Day to 200 hospitalized veterans
“With its outpatient services closed and non-essential personnel home on Christmas Day, the Dallas VA Medical Center almost seemed abandoned — that is, until carloads of Jewish War Veterans, its Ladies Auxiliary and friends pulled up at the entrance to unload hundreds of gift bags. With its primary commitment of support to hospitalized veterans, the Dr. Harvey J. Bloom Dallas Post 256 of the Jewish War Veterans of America and its Auxiliary, has chosen to perform mitzvahs (good deeds), each Christmas Day, to those vets too ill to leave the hospital, and many without family visitors, by bringing gifts and good cheer.
“Led by JWV’s Jerry Silverman, the Christmas Mitzvah Day coordinator, and his wife, Lonna Rae, the 30-person group formed into smaller units, assigned to different floors suggested by the hospital staff.
“Each gift bag contained previously approved items such as: cap, calendar, day planner, juice, chips, candy, magnifying glass and socks. But seemingly, for most of the patients visited, more important than the gift bag were the cheerful personal greetings and conversation with unexpected, but welcome, visitors.”
Thank you, Jerry, for sharing the story and photos with our readers.
Waldman Bros names five new vice presidents
Waldman Bros, a Dallas-based insurance and financial services firm, has promoted five employees to serve as vice presidents: Leigh Bennett, Eric Goldberg, Rita Rolf, Melanie Rasansky and Tina Sparks. In their new roles, they will be responsible for developing new business for the company and expanding Waldman Bros’ client base.
“These leaders have exemplified a remarkable commitment to serving Waldman Bros clients, and their dedication to the company is a huge reason for our success,” said Steve Waldman, chief executive officer, Waldman Bros.
“We are thankful for their hard work and focus toward putting client needs first, and we want to show our appreciation and gratitude by providing them with even greater responsibility.”
Prior to their promotions, the executives interacted with clients by building strong and lasting relationships, while offering experienced recommendations and tailored solutions.
Team members of the employee benefits division, Bennett and Rasansky previously served as advisors and Rolf served as an account executive. As a part of the Property & Casualty team, Goldberg served as an advisor, while Sparks served as an account executive for the Commercial Insurance team. Good wishes to the new veeps.
News from Congregation Beth Torah
Congregation Beth Torah’s Social Action Committee hosted its third annual Mitzvah Menorah Party in December, providing entertainment and holiday gifts to needy North Texas families.
Synagogue members donated presents and prepared dinner, while Beth Torah youngsters joined their young visitors in craft projects, songs and dancing. “It was great seeing all the different groups dancing, singing, arm in arm, kids running together, giggling, sharing a meal and singing Hanukkah and Christmas songs,” said Marilyn Guzick, CBT Sisterhood Social Action Chair.
Most of the guests came from Lifenet, a Dallas nonprofit that helps area residents find homes, jobs, food assistance and other aid to get back on their feet. On Christmas Day, Beth Torah’s Men’s Club served a turkey lunch at the Prince of Wales housing complex, a Lifenet-affiliated facility near downtown Dallas. Beth Torah members also helped organize food at the North Texas Food Pantry on Christmas Eve, and prepared and served Christmas lunch at Ronald McDonald House.
More than 130 people are expected to bowl at Congregation Beth Torah’s Fourth Annual Rashi Bowlathon Sunday, Jan. 11, at Plano Super Bowl. The fundraiser, beginning at 2 p.m., supports Congregation Beth Torah’s youth groups and to date has raised more than $15,000 to help fund scholarships and programming for future Jewish leaders.
“This really has become a family affair for me and the entire Congregation Beth Torah community,” said Rhonda Duchin, chairwoman for the event, whose three grown children were part of the different youth groups benefiting from the fundraiser. “We want to make sure our youths can take full advantage of all the programming the different youth groups offer. We never want cost to be a barrier.”
Congregation Beth Torah youths can join:
- Gareen (third-fifth grade) — Gareen is a youth group for children in grades 3-5. Some of their favorite activities include pizza in the sukkah, bowling party, Dallas Stars game, and the Men’s Club picnic.
- Kadima (sixth-eighth grade) — The international youth organization for Jewish pre-teens. Beth Torah Kadima offers an exciting and full program of socials, trips, get-togethers, holiday observances and much more. Every Kadima member receives Kol Kadima, a quarterly magazine that includes stories, games and articles about Jewish topics.
- Rashi USY (ninth-12th grade) — USY stands for United Synagogue Youth, and it is the youth group associated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. USY is divided into three levels: the chapter, the region and international USY. Rashi is affiliated with Congregation Beth Torah. This area belongs to the Southwest USY (SWUSY) region, composed of chapters from all over Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
This year’s bowlathon features more than $3,000 in raffle prizes including fine jewelry, games and toys for the young and young at heart and gift cards from area restaurants. Registration to bowl and sponsorship opportunities are available at www.rashibowlathon.com. Plano Super Bowl is located at 2521 Avenue K in Plano.