Dallas Doings
By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn

Lizzie Velasquez: an inspirational speaker not to be missed at CSI

Following Special Needs Awareness Month, Lizzie Velasquez will share her inspirational story.
Ms. Velasquez is a global motivational speaker, anti-bullying activist, author and producer. Born with a syndrome so rare that it does not even have a name, Lizzie has turned what she once considered a curse (having zero body fat) into her life’s biggest blessing.
Lizzie will speak at 11 a.m., March 1, at Shearith Israel, 9401 Douglas Avenue in Dallas.
Lizzie’s journey to find beauty within and staying true to oneself is a powerful message for all to hear. From cyberbullying victim to anti-bullying activist, her personal story has been featured on multiple shows and all over the media. Her TEDTALK “How do you define yourself?” has garnered over 9 million views across the Web.

Yavneh Academy student, Liat Levkovich, reaches out

“My school, Yavneh Academy, has given me the unbelievable opportunity to participate in the 2015 Jerusalem Marathon March 13. This Marathon raises money for SHALVA — The Association for Mentally & Physically Challenged Children in Israel. I am thrilled to combine my passion for Israel and helping others while running.
“SHALVA is an Israeli organization that works with special needs children of all religions, free of charge. They provide a loving and goal-oriented environment where children with disabilities from ages of birth-through-young-adulthood can develop the skills required for better, more normative lives. SHALVA is staffed by professional educators and therapists and assisted by scores of trained volunteers. Children are admitted to the program on a first-come-first-serve basis regardless of ethnicity, religion, or financial status. They have become a leader in the field of disability awareness and intervention in the Middle East. I am honored to be supporting them, giving a brighter future for children with special needs.
“Because I so admire SHALVA’s goals and the impact they have made in Israel, I’ve set a personal fundraising goal of $3000. Hopefully, you will cheer me on in both my training efforts and by helping me meet my financial objective and help give a brighter future for special needs children in Israel. All donations go directly to SHALVA and are 100 percent tax-deductible.
“You can learn more and donate by clicking on my personal page here: http://www.run4shalva.org/en/view_profile.php?id=1614.”
Liat added that any and all donations are greatly appreciated. “Thank you in advance for supporting me and the children with special needs of SHALVA and their families. I look forward to sharing my progress with you!
“Thank you so much for your support!”

From left, art contest winners Jolie Reiman, Jordan Schildcrout and Sophie Krajmalnik with Levine Academy art teacher Wendy Cramer | Photo: Levine Academy
From left, art contest winners Jolie Reiman, Jordan Schildcrout and Sophie Krajmalnik with Levine Academy art teacher Wendy Cramer | Photo: Levine Academy

Levine fifth-graders win first place in art contest

Good wishes to Ann and Nate Levine Academy fifth-graders Jolie Reiman, Jordan Schildcrout, and Sophie Krajmalnik, who were awarded first place in the Mixed Media and Sculpture (ES) category of the 2015 RAVSAK Judaic Art Contest. The judges stated that they were deeply impressed by the students’ creative interpretations of this year’s theme, “Journey.”
Mazel Tov to art teacher Ms. Wendy Cramer who not only worked with the students on this project but was also one of the judges (in a different category to Levine’s entry). All the Levine fifth-grade entries submitted will be combined into one piece to be auctioned at the Levine Gala March 29.
The winning artwork and artists’ statements can be viewed at the RAVSAK website. The artwork will be featured in the Spring 2015 issue of HaYidion, which will be received in March. Levine students joined more than 650 students from 30 day schools across North America in this competition.

Rabbi Shai Held is CSI Scholar-in-Residence March 6-7

Congregation Shearith Israel will welcome Rabbi Shai Held as its Scholar-in-Residence March 6-7.

Rabbi Shai Held
Rabbi Shai Held

On Friday, March 6, services will begin at 6 p.m. in the Beck Family Sanctuary. Rabbi Held will speak on “Why Amazement Matters: Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Vision of Theology, Spirituality and Ethics.” Dinner will follow at 7 p.m. in Kaplan Auditorium. Reservations for dinner can be made at www.shearith.org.
On Saturday, March 7, services will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Beck Family Sanctuary, where Rabbi Held will give the D’var Torah on Parashat Ki Tissa. A Kiddush lunch, which is open to the community, will begin at noon.
At 1 p.m. in the Fonberg Chapel, Rabbi Held will continue with the topic “Flipping Self-Worth on its Head: Towards a Jewish Approach to Human Dignity and Value.” Rabbi Held will lead attendees on a personal journey toward a powerful and unmistakably Jewish message about how we value our lives.
This Scholar-In-Residence Shabbat is sponsored in part by a generous grant from the Center for Jewish Education as part of LearningFest 2015.
Rabbi Shai Held is co-founder, dean, and chair in Jewish thought at Mechon Hadar, where he directs the Center for Jewish Leadership and Ideas (CJLI). Prior to that, he served for six years as Scholar-in-Residence at Kehilat Hadar in New York City, and taught both theology and halacha at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He also served as director of education at Harvard Hillel.
A renowned lecturer and educator, Shai is a 2011 recipient of the Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education. He has taught for synagogues and educational institutions all across the United States and Israel and has served on the faculty of the Wexner Foundation and the Hartman Institute.
Shai has a Ph.D. in religion from Harvard. His main academic interests are in modern Jewish and Christian thought and in the history of Zionism.
Indiana University Press published his book, Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence, in the fall of 2013. His weekly essays on the Torah are read by thousands of people around the world.
For additional information, please contact Heather Kaplan Weatherly at heather@shearith.org.

Press Notes: Jordan Cope

Jordan Cope, son of Lisa and James Cope of Dallas, is literally making news at UT Austin. Jordan co-founded Humans of the Forty Acres, a photo blog which was recently written up in the Daily Texan.
Jordan and the HFA team walk around campus every Sunday afternoon and interview seven random strangers. The group then posts one photo and one quote per day to spotlight different people around campus.
Also on the HFA is Cope’s fellow Yavneh grad Jason Epstein.
You can check out Humans of the Forty Acres on Facebook. At press time the page had 1274 likes and counting.

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