Dallas Doings

Senior Dance at the JCC
The JCC, in partnership with The Temple Emanu-El Couples Club, will host a Senior Dance Night on Monday, July 13 from 6 p.m. in the Zale Auditorium at the Aaron Family JCC. This event is open to the public. Cost is $5 per person and includes a free ballroom dance lesson, live music and light refreshments. Come celebrate summer and meet new friends at the JCC! For more information, please contact Anna or Heather at 214-239-7119 or visit the JCC Web site at www.jccdallas.org.
Raechel Banks goes to Washington
Dallas native Raechel Banks, daughter of Maloree and Bob Banks, is the kind of college student for whom spending a summer mowing lawns or working at a summer camp just isn’t enough. For Banks, a rising sophomore at Brandeis University, meaningful Jewish experiences coupled with a deep commitment to social action translates into a summer in the nation’s capital.
Banks is spending six weeks of her summer (from June 14 through July 26) participating in the Machon Kaplan program sponsored by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the public policy arm of the Reform Jewish movement. Machon Kaplan is a competitive summer study-internship program that exposes a selected group of college students to social justice issues from both the academic and practical viewpoints.
Through Machon Kaplan, Raechel is working as an intern at Global Action for Children, a nonpartisan coalition dedicated to advocating for orphans and vulnerable children in the developing world. She will take what she learns this summer back to Brandeis University to engage other students on her campus in hands-on social justice work.
Throughout the course of the program, Banks and her fellow Machon Kaplan participants live and breathe social justice, combining their interest in Judaism with their passion for improving the world. Participants intern at public policy organizations, where they experience firsthand how policy is made and contribute their own energy and commitment to social change. In addition to their internships, students take specially designed academic courses that teach the application of Jewish values to current social justice issues.
Raechel is also blogging throughout the course of Machon Kaplan at the RACblog.
Kevin Pailet cited by Dallas Business Journal
Mazel tov to Kevin Pailet, who was named one of the Dallas Business Journal’s “40 Under 40.” Kevin, 37, is a founding partner of Prescott Pailet Benefits LP. He and his firm manage benefits for more than 500 employers and handle personal insurance needs for more than 2,000 individuals The company has seen 55 percent revenue growth in the last three years. Away from his office, Kevin currently serves as vice chairman of the American Israel Political Action Committee regional chapter, vice chairman of AIPAC New Leadership Network (national) and as a member of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas.
In a recent interview, Kevin was asked: “What was your first job [as a teen or in college, etc.]?” He answered, “By the age of 10, I was working as a runner, transferring customer purchases from the sales departments to the cashier’s office, at my grandparents’ store, Sterling Jewelry. My first job outside of the family business was as Mickey Mouse during the grand opening of the Dallas Galleria in 1982.”
TDSD, Mesorah first GBL season is a hit!
Torah Day School of Dallas and Mesorah High School for Girls’ first season of basketball was a hit. The Girls’ Basketball League (GBL), complete with professional coaching from a veteran basketball player, Mrs. Becky Udman, and lots of spirit from its members, provided a chance for the girls to learn about and play basketball in a Jewish environment. Mrs. Udman, the GBL coach, played on a girls’ basketball team all throughout high school and continued on in Stern College (Yeshiva University). Before she became shomer Shabbat, Mrs. Udman sought to further her basketball playing in university. She did not forgo her interest in basketball upon becoming shomer Shabbat in the 1980s; to the contrary, she was always searching for opportunities to play her favorite sport in a competitive manner. She wanted her daughters, GBL team members who are currently in the seventh and eighth grades, to be able to experience what their four older brothers had. As Mrs. Udman said, “TDSD and Mesorah are relatively new schools. TDSD is in its sixth year; Mesorah, in its ninth. As the schools get more and more established we begin looking into different extracurricular activities so as to meet the ever-growing needs of the girls in our schools.” Thus began the formation of GBL.
GBL prefaced its opening season with a six-week evaluation, during which the girls learned the rules of the game and worked to perfect their strategies. After the workshop, four teams were formed and the season kicked off. The games, which were attended by women and girls of the Dallas community, were full of drama, as all 30 girls gave it their all. As Natalie Elfenbein, a sophomore at Mesorah and a GBL player who ended the season at 50 points, put it, “It was a great opportunity for us to exercise and have fun at the same time. Everyone is looking forward to next season!”
Latosha Wridgewood, a certified referee who played on a Plano basketball league, served as the referee and gave the girls pointers. Seeing her move adeptly about the court while dressed in uniform added to the excitement. The many helpful tips learned from Ms. Wridgewood and Mrs. Udman served the GBL players well in their later games.
GBL’s games were played in TDSD’s gym two times a week. The playoffs, which took place the last two weeks of the season, brought about an air of tension, as each team was bent on winning. These games were the culmination of the season’s hard work and effort. The championship game took place in the JCC on a Saturday night, with a turnout of over 60 women and girls. Due to its overwhelming success, together with the support of the JCC, the Girls’ Basketball League’s spring season continues through the end of this month.

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