Dallas Doings

The Million Dollar Advocates Forum recently announced that attorney Les Weisbrod has been certified as a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Weisbrod is presently a Life Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum is limited to attorneys who have won million- and multi-million-dollar verdicts, awards and settlements. The organization was founded in 1993 and there are approximately 3,000 members located throughout the country. Fewer than 1 percent of U.S. lawyers are members.
Forum membership acknowledges excellence in advocacy, and provides members with a national network of experienced colleagues for professional referral and information exchange in major cases. Members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum must have acted as principal counsel in at least one case in which their client has received a verdict, award or settlement in the amount of $1 million or more. Weisbrod is a member of both the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
A graduate of Southern Methodist University School of Law, specializing in medical malpractice law, Les is the son of Bea Weisbrod and the late Harry Weisbrod.
Marla Cohen captures top national journalism prize
For the second time in three years, former Dallasite Marla Cohen, Rockland (N.Y.) Jewish Reporter editor, has captured a top national prize for quality Jewish writing. The Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish journalism are distributed annually by the American Jewish Press Association (AJPA). Marla won the first-place Louis Rapaport Award for excellence in commentary for newspapers with a circulation under 15,000.
She was honored for three columns: “Memories of My Father,” a lyrical meditation on her father’s death; “The Price of Return,” a dissection of the complicated issues surrounding the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit; and “Rain at the Proper Season,” an essay that elegantly ties together hurricanes and the High Holy Days. Marla previously won the first-place Rockower Award in 2006 for her columns.
Marla is the daughter of Miriam and the late Sidney Cohen of Dallas. She lives in New City, N.Y., with her husband and two children.
Akiba alumna, Rachel Siegel, wins national award
Akiba Academy is thrilled that alumna Rachel Siegel ‘09 has been named one of 10 national winners of the 2009 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, honoring outstanding young leaders who have made a significant, positive difference to people and our planet.
Rachel’s inspiration was the story of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish humanitarian who, while working in Budapest during World War II, housed and issued protective passports to tens of thousands of Jews, saving them from certain death during the Holocaust. Months later, Rachel witnessed the reunion of a Holocaust survivor and her savior, who had not seen each other in over 60 years. These events motivated her to research and write profiles in courage of 36 non-Jewish heroes whose stories she shared in her book “Stories of Moral Courage in the Face of Evil.” Rachel has traveled around the country speaking about the magnitude of those heroes’ actions, and through book sales, has donated over $13,000 to the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous. The JFR, a nonprofit organization committed to hakarat hatov — the searching out and recognition of goodness — provides financial assistance to aged and needy non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.
Akiba teacher Lili Feingold, who led the nomination effort, was elated to hear that Rachel was selected as one of this year’s winners. “Having had Rachel as a student for three years, I was most impressed with her compassion and in-depth understanding of the human condition. Her humility, juxtaposed to her greatness at such a young age, made her a perfect candidate for the Gloria Barron Prize. Being recognized for outstanding service is a wonderful thing when it can inspire others to achieve their greatness and make an impact on society. Look what resulted from one bat mitzvah project!”
Rachel’s family was delighted with the recent announcement. “We are gratified that Rachel’s efforts have been recognized for a project that is so special to her,” said her mother, Lisa Siegel. “It is so important to Rachel that these heroes, whose stories she chronicled, continue to serve as an inspiration to young people, and we are immensely proud that the stories will continue to be told through her work.”
Gloria Barron Prize winners receive $2,500 to be applied to their higher education or to their service project.
Rachel received the distinguished honor of valedictorian of her high school class in 2009, and is a member of the National Junior Honor Society.
Organizational opening meetings on tap
It’s the start of the season for opening meetings.
The National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Dallas Section, will kick off the club season with guest speaker Kathy Miller, president, Texas Freedom Network, on Thursday, Sept. 10. The two-hour meeting from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. will be held at Congregation Shearith Israel, Topletz Auditorium.
Herzl Hadassah’s opening meeting of the new year will feature Rabbi Howard Wolk speaking on “Looking Back to 9-11 and Looking Forward to 5770.” The meeting will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 10 a.m. in the Senior Assembly Room at the Aaron Family JCC. Lunch, prepared by the Herzl board, will be served. All members and guests are invited to attend. Hadassah projects and plans for the coming year will be discussed.
Sign language High Holy Days services at Emanu-El
Temple Emanu-El will have sign language interpretation available during the High Holy Days on Rosh Hashanah evening, Friday, Sept. 18 at 6 p.m. and on Yom Kippur Day, Monday, Sept. 28 at 1 p.m., both in the Olan Sanctuary.
Admission cards are required. Temple Emanu-El is pleased to make them available (at no cost) to members of the deaf community.
Please contact Diana Hall at 214-706-0017 or dhall@tedallas.org to make arrangements as soon as possible so those interested can be accommodated.
Check out the Florence Melton and Gesher courses at the J
Exercise your brain by staying fit with the best Jewish education available at the J.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or are a lifelong learner, you’ll discover a class of independent creative thinkers studying aspects of Judaism from a pluralistic point of view. Classes are taught by some of Dallas’ most talented rabbis and educators. For further information about this amazing learning opportunity, contact Rachelle Weiss Crane at rweisscrane@jccdallas.org or by calling 214-239-7128.
Florence Melton Adult Mini School and Gesher Graduate classes begin the week of Sept. 13. The Melton schedule is as follows:
Second year: Sunday afternoons, 1–3:15 p.m. (Congregation Kol Ami in Flower Mound)
First year: Monday evenings, 7–9:15 p.m. (JCC)
Second year: Monday evenings, 7–9:15 p.m. (Congregation Shearith Israel)
First year: Tuesday mornings 9:30–11:45 a.m. (Congregation Beth Torah)
First year: Wednesday mornings, 9:30–11:45 a.m. (JCC)
Second year: Wednesday mornings, 9:30–11:45 a.m. (JCC)
Gesher Graduate classes begin Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 9:30 a.m. at Adat Chaverim and Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 9:30 a.m. at the J. Additional classes are offered on other days at a variety of times. For complete information on class offerings, go to www.jccdallas.org and click on Jewish Life and Learning to view the Jewish education brochure.
BBYO toasts Dallas alumni with wine tasting, dessert reception
BBYO is celebrating all the decades of its alumni in Dallas!
Friends and alumni of BBYO (21 years and older) are invited to a wine tasting and dessert reception on Saturday evening, Sept. 12, at 8 p.m. at Premier Wines of Plano, 1701 Summit Ave. #12. The evening will conclude in time to attend Selichot services at your local synagogue. The cost is $20 per person (at the door, charge by phone, or by check). Please RSVP to Sherrie Stalarow at 214-363-4654 or sstalarow@bbyo.org.
This kickoff event is for the newly established Dallas BBYO Friends and Alumni Network (FAN). The Dallas FAN is part of an international network of FANs that are being formed in communities throughout North America. FAN provides BBYO alumni with ways to reconnect to each other and to BBYO, while supporting the organization that does so much for our teens and the community. For more information about FAN, contact Sherrie Stalarow, senior executive regional director, or check out bbyo.org/fan.

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