Dallas Doings
By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn

Former Dallasite, Devra Lehmann, authors book for teens and young adults

A note from TJP reader, Haia Goldenberg, “schepped nachus” when she informed the TJP staff that her daughter, Devra Lehmann, recently published “Spinoza: The Outcast Thinker.” Lehmann, a former student at Akiba Academy, wrote a winning essay in a citywide Bicentennial Essay Contest when she was a sixth-grader at Akiba Academy.
The book has received critical acclaim from multiple sources including the 2014 National Jewish Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature. It presents a compelling portrait of Spinoza for young adults, ages 13 and over. Spinoza, a brilliant schoolboy in 17th-century Amsterdam, quickly learns to keep his ideas to himself. At the age of 23, his ideas prove so scandalous to his religious community that he is cast out, cursed and effectively erased from his communal life. The scandal shows no signs of a warning as his ideas spread throughout Europe, where he is almost universally reviled as an instrument of the devil. At the center of the storm, he lives the simplest of lives, quietly devoted to his work as a lens grinder, and his steadfast search for truth, which is an endeavor that paves the way to all that is best in modern democracies. He does not see the results of his efforts; however, his ideas change the world.
Kirkus Reviews states that this book is “Part biography, part history, part exploration of Spinoza’s philosophy: wholly engaging …  Clarity, accessibility and spot-on relevance to issues facing modern society make this a ‘must-read.’”
Devra Lehmann has been a high school teacher for almost three decades. She grew up in New York City and Dallas, and then moved to Israel, where she raised her family of four children with her husband, Ron. She earned her undergraduate degree from Yale University and her master’s degree in English from Georgetown University. She completed her doctorate in Curriculum and Teaching at Teacher’s College, Columbia University. This is her first book. For additional information, contact www.devralehmann.com.
Devra is the daughter of Mrs. Haia Goldenberg, and the stepdaughter of the late Murray Goldenberg.

StandWithUs brings Israeli soldiers to Dallas, Frisco

StandWithUs (SWU) is a 13 year-old, international, non-profit Israel education organization with chapters throughout the United States, in Israel, Canada and the UK. It was founded in 2011 to support people around the world who want to educate their campuses and communities about Israel. SWU educates through social media, videos, hosts speakers, programs and conferences in cities around the world, offers website resources and creates materials about Israel in different languages and on a variety of topics that are distributed globally. Based in Los Angeles, SWU has offices throughout the U.S., in Israel, Canada and the U.K.
It’s annual “Israeli Soldiers’ Tour” will be in Dallas and Frisco on February 20. Tamir and Elad, two reserve duty Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier-students will speak at Yavneh Academy of Dallas and at Shir Tikvah in Frisco at 7 p.m.
Community members are invited to attend the enlightening event at the synagogue, and hear firsthand from IDF officer-students, Tamir and Elad, as they share their experiences. SWU’s MZ Teen Internship, a new yearlong advocacy program for high school students, arranged both talks. The SWU MZ Interns are Samantha Harris from Yavneh Academy and Rachel Mitchell, Plano West H.S.
SWU’s “Israeli Soldiers Tour” involves reserve duty college students who share their personal experiences serving in the IDF that expose the dilemmas of the conflict and in upholding the strict IDF moral code. They relate their backgrounds, interests and life in Israel and answer questions. They put a human face to the IDF uniform. Their last names are withheld for security purposes.
Tamir and Elad will also be featured at Texas A&M, Yavneh, two MZ high schools in San Antonio, and in Houston, as well as Limmud, beginning Feb. 15.
Born in New York, Tamir moved to Israel at the age of 7 with his family. An alumnus of StandWithUs’ 2012 Israel Fellowship, he is studying political science and communications at Tel Aviv University. During his time in the IDF, he served as an officer and company commander in the Paratrooper Brigade. During his service he participated in Operation Cast Lead in 2009, and in 2011 he commanded 140 soldiers on Israel`s northern border with Lebanon and was responsible for border patrols, lookouts and various missions in order to defend the citizens of Israel.
A sabra, Elad resides in kibbutz Ma’ayan Baruch, a small town near the Lebanese border. He served in the IDF as a combat soldier and a mortars sergeant. He participated in many operations during the second intifada, including one in which he was shot and critically injured in what was dubbed the “Attack in the Worshipers’ Route” in Hebron in 2002. Elad was nominated for a citation award for his actions in battle. After two months of recovery, Elad volunteered in his unit, and after completing senior-level courses, he commanded a mortars platoon in the West Bank and Lebanon. Elad was discharged with honor after almost four years of service with the rank of First Senior Sergeant. After release, he volunteered in an organization that aids underprivileged and at-risk youth in preparation for army service. He has a degree in nutrition science from Tel-Chai Academic College and is an alumnus of the 2013 StandWithUs Israel Fellowship.

Sjogren’s February meeting will feature Dr. Susan Swanson

The monthly Sjogren’s Syndrome Support Group will meet at 1 p.m.. Saturday, Feb. 7, at Baylor College Of Dentistry, 3202 Gaston Ave., in Room 211.
Dr. Susan Swanson, a noted ophthalmologist, who obtained her undergraduate degree in chemistry at SMU in Dallas, will be featured. Swanson completed her internship and residency at UTSW Medical School in Dallas, where she additionally graduated from medical school. She is Board-certified in ophthalmology.
Swanson has worked in private practice in the Dallas Metroplex since 1992. She is involved in the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Dallas County Medical Society, the Texas Medical Association and the Dallas Academy of Ophthalmology. She has medical staff appointments at THR Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas and the Medical Center of Plano.
Swanson is especially interested in diagnosing and treating Sjogren’s patients, who do not produce adequate tears to protect their eyes, due to Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune condition which affects all moisture-producing glands in the body. There is no cure for Sjogren’s, which can affect multiple organs as well, and presents as either a primary or secondary condition.
The facility is located at the corner of Gaston and Hall. Attendees must enter through the Hall Street entrance. Parking is free at the college’s garage, which is located at the corner of Nussbaumer and Hall Streets. The entrance to the garage is on Nussbaumer. Reservations for the meeting may be made to Cathy Ingels, support group leader, by calling 972-948-8606 or by emailing destinydesigns1@verizon.net.

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