By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn
National Council of Jewish Women will participate for the third year in the Day of Service on MLK Day. We’ve heard that places are still available for volunteers in all of their activities except The Ronald McDonald House. This is one of NCJW’s big community service activities for the year. The crux that there are opportunities to volunteer, help collect items needed, and/or donate money to purchase the items needed for the project — and Council members will shop for you or you can shop for those items yourself.
National NCJW recently launched a national awareness and advocacy initiative about sex trafficking (Exodus: National NCJW’s Anti-Sex Trafficking Initiative. http://www.ncjw.org/content_11105.cfm?navID=218)
To support this initiative, the NCJW ladies are collecting sweatshirts/pants (solid colors, no logos, no hoodies) to donate to Dallas police who are working with the nonprofits who are housing these girls. The sweats give them some warm clothing to wear.
For additional information regarding the MLK Day of Service, please contact Joyce Rosenfield, co-vice president community service and co-chair of the Day of Service, at 214-394-8383, as well as the following: Debby Stein, co-vice president community service and co-chair of the Day of Service, at 214-354-9539, and Carol Tobias, co-chair of the Day of Service, at 972-365-3382.
Drs. Irwin and Aaron Segal at next Beth Torah Men’s Club breakfast
Dr. Irwin Segal and his son, Dr. Aaron Segal, both family practice physicians, will discuss the evolution of medicine at the Congregation Beth Torah Men’s Club breakfast at 9 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 18. Irwin has been a longtime family practitioner in Plano. Aaron and his wife, Stephanie, joined Irwin at Segal Family Medicine in Plano, where Aaron practiced for several years.
The Segals, who have watched the practice of medicine evolve — for better and for worse — over several decades, will talk about what they’ve seen, how they work and what the changes mean for patients. Well-known in our community, Dr. Alan Koenigsberg, a psychiatrist and clinical professor at the UT Southwestern Medical School, will moderate the discussion.
The public is welcome to attend the program, which begins with a lox-and-bagel breakfast. The cost is $10, $5 for students. Beth Torah is located at 720 W. Lookout Drive in Richardson, near the crossroads of Bush Turnpike and Central Expressway. For further information, please call the synagogue at 972-234-1542.
Chabad of Plano presents the Charles Israel Annual Scholar-In-Residence Shabbaton
Chabad of Plano invites the community to attend a scholar-in-residence weekend Jan. 23-24.
The event will feature Rabbi Yossi Paltiel, a scholar and co-founder of “Inside Judaism,” who is a popular teacher and mentor with a strong following of students across the world. His unique gifts of transmitting his passion for Torah and Judaism are reflected in his classes. Rabbi Paltiel weaves classic commentaries, Jewish law, history and philosophy, personal stories, and a deep knowledge of Chassidus and Kabbalah into a whole that’s both intellectually challenging and heartwarming. He currently teaches at United Lubavitcher Yeshiva and at Machon Chana Women’s Institute for the Study of Judaism.
The Scholar-In-Residence weekend begins Friday evening, Jan. 23, with services at 6 p.m. followed by Shabbat dinner at 7 p.m. and a talk entitled “Faith and Superstition.” On Shabbat, Jan. 24 at 11:30 a.m., Paltiel will discuss “The Exodus, Not a One-Time Event.” Freedom has a constant cost. Are we paying our dues?
On Saturday night, Jan. 24 at 8 p.m., guests will enjoy a Melava Malka: The Gift of the Baal Shem Tov Stories. Chassidic stories enlighten the mind, inspire the heart and reveal the soul. “We will find out why the medium of storytelling is so prevalent in Jewish life.”
The entire Scholar-In-Residence weekend is sponsored by Dr. Cary A. Israel in honor of the eighth yahrzeit of his Father Charles (Shalom) Israel. Cary Israel is past president of Collin County Community College District and a longtime member of Chabad of Plano. During his time as president, Cary became a vocal advocate for Jewish causes on campus. He states that he is “proud to be able to underwrite our annual scholar-in-residence, bringing more Jewish learning and inspiration to our community.”
The Shabbaton will be held at the Lang Chabad Center, 3904 West Park Blvd., just east of Coit Road, in Plano. There is no charge for any of the meals or lectures throughout the weekend. Childcare will be available at all times. RSVP is necessary for Friday dinner only. Visit www.chabadplano.org to RSVP or call 972-596-8270 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit www.chabadplano.org.
Debbie Wills named Beth Torah’s Sisterhood Torah Fund honoree
My colleague Harriet Gross is responsible for the following item:
On Sunday, Jan. 25, Debbie Wills will join the long line of Congregation Beth Torah members named as Sisterhood’s Torah Fund Honorees. She will be formally recognized at a noon luncheon in Crowne Plaza, Addison, the latest to be recognized at the event that has been an annual tradition since 1994.
Debbie Cohen, a native of Jackson, Mississippi, met John Wills of Savannah when both were university students in Augusta, Georgia, where she earned her degree in occupational therapy and he graduated from medical school. They married in 1980 and lived in Greenville, South Carolina, while John completed his internal medicine residency.
The young Wills family, including baby Laura, came to Dallas in 1983 and immediately found a friendly welcome at Beth Torah. Mishpacha, this year’s Torah Fund theme, has special meaning for Debbie because her sister Marilyn Rothstein and family already lived in Dallas at the time, and were the prime reason she and John chose it for their home as well.
“After we were here for a while,” says Debbie, “my dad Buddy Cohen, who will turn 103 in March, my sister Harriet Cohen, and my mother-in-law Charlotte Glunts all moved here as well.” She now has three nephews, two nieces, and five grand-nephews and -nieces who’ve been added to the family since!
Today, Debbie serves as Beth Torah’s membership vice president. Over the past 30 years she has been a leader in the synagogue’s social action, youth and educational programs while augmenting her own Jewish education with years of Biblical Hebrew study and Mussar group participation.
Laura was joined by daughter Erica in 1985 and son David in 1988, and Debbie worked for all their schools as the three children grew, chairing Fairhill’s Parent Council, leading Westwood Junior High’s multicultural efforts, and holding several positions on the Richardson High School Board. As a stay-at-home mom, she served on the National Council of Jewish Women’s Dallas Section Board and was a Jewish Family Service volunteer; then, after starting to work again, she became a JFS job coach. Now she is a Home Health occupational therapist, going to people where they live to help them define and attain their individualized functional goals. A favorite activity has been leading classes of “Parenting With Love and Logic,” a national program that helps parents teach children how to make their own decisions and accept responsibility for the consequences.
In the Wills home, Debbie loves to cook — her Shabbat dinners are legendary! — and to simply relax with husband John and their dog Tova. Daughter Erica now works at Pepsico in Dallas and is busy planning her forthcoming wedding to Dr. David Bashover; son David is studying at a New York yeshiva; and first-born Laura is at Texas Woman’s University, completing a master’s degree in occupational therapy — her mother’s profession.
“When I was growing up,” Debbie says, “Judaism was very important, and giving of yourself was very important.” These values remain among the most important facets of her life today.
The Torah Fund of Women’s League of Conservative Judaism supports four institutions in New York, Los Angeles, Jerusalem and Buenos Aires that train rabbis, cantors and Jewish educators. Cost of the forthcoming event is $36, plus a minimum Torah Fund gift of $18. A growing number of Beth Torah Sisterhood members now wear the annual pin that proclaims their gifts of at least $180 to the Fund. As always, chair of the day is the last year’s honoree, in this case Shirley Strauss; all past honorees are part of her committee.
For further information and to RSVP, contact Elaine Scharf at 972-307-3521 or email@example.com.
American brings home second-place prize in Tanach contest
Former TJP Assistant Editor Phyllis LaVietes tells us that her son, Rabbi Alexander Heppenheimer, won second prize in the recent International Chidon for Adults, a worldwide competition testing knowledge of the Tanach (Jewish Bible). The final contest, bringing together champions from several countries, took place in Jerusalem on the eighth night of Chanukah. The first-place winner was an Israeli, Hananel Malka. Alex lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, N.Y., and is married and the father of five boys and one girl.
CSI Shabbat B’Yachad to feature Mickey Mouse theme
Shearith Israel’s popular Shabbat B’Yachad returns next Friday, Jan. 23 at 6 p.m. in the Beck Sanctuary. The service is perfect for families with children of all ages as well as adults. The Mickey-themed service follows previous successful themed Kabbalat Shabbat services featuring the Beatles and Legos as their themes. The service features a beautiful, accessible and transliterated prayer book created just for Shabbat B’Yachad. A delicious, free Mickey-themed dinner and Mickey Mouse games will follow services. Registration is a must and can be completed at www.shearith.org. Just click on “Register for Events,” or contact Katie Copeland at firstname.lastname@example.org.