Dallas Doings
By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn

Enjoy Fiddler on the Roof at Richardson High School‘s Eagle Repertory Theatre

As the mom of a former high school musical theatre student, I still remember the joy I felt watching a group of young actors perform notable classic musical theatre. I just discovered that the well-loved musical “Fiddler on the Roof” will be produced and performed by Richardson High School’s Eagle Repertory Theatre with performances in the RHS Auditorium in the evening at 7:30 p.m., Jan. 22-24. A matinee will be held at 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 25. Tickets for the event are priced reasonably from $5-$12 and can be purchased at the door or bought online at www.rhstheatre.org.
The event will be produced under special agreement with Music Theatre International, Inc. Tevye’s story, and “Fiddler” is a reminder to me that life is about “Tradition, ” and that through the years, as we grow, we are still talking about the same issues, albeit differently, and perhaps facing some of the same conflicts that Jews have always faced.

Ladino Day Program and Appreciation Week of Judeo-Spanish Culture begins Sunday at SMU

The Second International Day of Ladino, which will be celebrated in Dallas Jan. 25, 2015, will be the first of a series of programs of a week focusing on Judeo-Spanish history and culture. The series is sponsored by Jewish Studies of Southern Methodist University with the enthusiastic support of its director, Dr. Shira Lander. The public is invited to all the programs free of charge.
The initial program of the Sephardic Culture series, which marks the Second International Day of Ladino, will take place from 2-5 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, at McCord Auditorium, third floor of Dallas Hall, 3225 University Blvd. It will feature lectures, music and personal stories related to the Judeo-Spanish language, history and culture. Dr. Devin Naar, director of the Sephardic Studies Program at the University of Washington in Seattle, will address the audience via video. Rachel Amado Bortnick, native speaker and scholar of Ladino, will speak on the basic differences between Spanish and Ladino, and Dina Eliezer, educational director at Congregation Shearith Israel and also a native speaker of Ladino, will speak on Ladino in rabbinic responsa and other manuscripts. The present and future state of Ladino will be revealed through presentations by various Dallasites, and the day will honor the memory of Sarina Elias de Waisbuh, Monastir-born Sephardic Holocaust survivor, through the words of her daughter Ghita Torrico. Music will add a joyous atmosphere, along with audience participation. Rachel Bortnick and Dina Eliezer have diligently prepared the program. Disability parking is available directly behind Dallas Hall on University Boulevard. General parking is available in Lot E behind Dallas Hall off Daniel Avenue.
Dr. Pamela Patton, professor and chair of the Department of Art History at SMU, will lecture on her slide show of Jewish art in medieval Spain. This will take place at the Owen Fine Arts Center, Greer Garson Theater Screening Room 3531, 6101 Hillcrest Avenue, from 12-1 p.m., Monday, Jan. 26. Parking is available in the Binkley Avenue Parking Center.
“Saved by Language” tells the story of Moris Albahari, a Sephardic Jew from Sarajevo (born 1930), who spoke Ladino/Judeo-Spanish, his mother tongue, to survive the Holocaust. The 55 minute-long film, made by Ladino students Bryan Kirschen and Susanna Zaraysky, will have its American premiere at 5 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 28, when it is shown at SMU’s Garson Theater Screening Room 3531 in the Owen Fine Arts Center, 6101 Hillcrest Ave. Rachel Bortnick will introduce the film and a discussion will follow the screening. Parking is available in the Binkley Avenue Parking Center.
Dr. Eric White, curator of Special Collections at the Bridwell Library, will present manuscripts and early Ladino books in the Library’s collection. Feel free to gather from 4-5 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 29, in the Benefactor’s Room, second floor of Perkins School of Theology’s Bridwell Library, 6005 Bishop Boulevard. A reception following the program will be held in the Parlor of Kirby Hall. Parking is available in the Binkley Avenue Parking Center.

A special weekend at Nishmat Am to celebrate Shabbat Shira and Tu B’Shevat

Congregation Nishmat Am, “The Shul with Soul in the Heart of Plano,” will celebrate Shabbat Shira and Tu B’Shevat during Shabbat the weekend of Jan. 30 and 31. Festivities will begin with Friday night services and Shabbat dinner Jan. 30 and ending with a “kumsitz” (family sing-a-long) Saturday night Jan. 31. Shabbat Shira is so named because the Torah portion read that weekend, B’shallach, contains the song sung by the Israelites after they safely crossed the Red Sea during the exodus from Egypt. Tu B’Shevat, the New Year of the Trees, occurs Feb. 4 this year.
The Friday evening Kabbalat Shabbat service begins at 6:30 p.m. and is informal and family-oriented. Following services, a delicious Shabbat meal will be served, accompanied by spirited singing and discussion led by Rabbi Yitzchak Cohen on the significance of Shabbat Shira. The cost for the meal is $10 per person; $5 for children ages 3-10; and no charge for children under 3. Space is limited and advanced reservations are required.
A Torah Study led by Rabbi Cohen, at 8:30 a.m., will precede Shabbat services Jan. 31. The Shabbat service begins at 9:30 a.m. and will include the installation of Nishmat Am’s new board of directors for 2015. After services, a special Kiddush luncheon in honor of the new board will be served.
Nishmat Am’s new officers are: Stan Friedman, president; Dan Peril, vice president; Jeffrey Hoffman, treasurer; Kim Bader, secretary; and members-at-large Justin Fortier, Marvin Friedman, Claudia Garcia, Allen Landerman, and Bill McManaway.
The community is invited to join Nishmat Am for its weekend celebration as well as for all Shabbat and holiday services and its many education and social programs. Reservations for Friday night dinner and the Saturday night kumsitz can be made by calling the synagogue at 972-618-2200. Nishmat Am is located at 2113 W. Spring Creek Parkway in Plano. More information is available at the congregation’s website at www.nishmatam.org.

Shearith Israel Sisterhood will honor Gail and Roland Mizrahi at 2015 Torah Fund Event

Shearith Israel Sisterhood’s 2015 Torah Fund event will honor Gail and Roland Mizrahi at a Champagne Brunch at 11:30 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 22, at Shearith, 9401 Douglas Ave.

Roland and Gail Mizrahi
Roland and Gail Mizrahi

A native Texan, Gail was born and reared in Fort Worth. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary and Special Education. A member of Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority, she served on the board and was president of the Intercollegiate Panhellenic Council. At Shearith Israel, Gail was co-chair (with Roland) for several CSI Scholars Forum fundraising events, hosting Henry Kissinger, Shimon Peres and General Colin Powell. She served as president of Shearith Israel Sisterhood from 2007-2009 and was instrumental in renovating the Judaica Shop into The Gallery where she continues to volunteer. Currently, Gail serves as executive vice president of Shearith Israel and will take office as President in June 2015.
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Roland attended the University of Texas at Austin where he received a BBA degree in finance and a Masters in Business in accounting. He attributes his strong Judaic background and love for synagogue from attending Solomon Schechter Academy and attending weekly Shabbat morning services with his grandparents, Evelyn and Ralph Mizrahi. Roland is best known at Shearith Israel for his davening talent, his tireless fundraising ability and his leadership of the congregation as president from 2003-2005. He remains active as a past president and currently chairs the “For the Love of the Shul” campaign.
Gail and Roland met at the University of Texas at Austin on a blind date. They have been married for 32 years and have two children, Lane (married to Katerina) and Melanie. Gail and Roland have been members of Congregation Shearith Israel since 1988 and have celebrated many life cycle events there. They will be the first husband/wife couple to serve as presidents of the congregation.
For more information about the event, please contact Roz Benjet at rbenjet1@cs.com or Meryl Nason at mgnsoc@sbcglobal.net.

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