Dallas Doings

Rabbi Yitzchak Cohen to be recognized for 40 years of service

This Sunday evening, Nov. 22, Rabbi Yitzchak Cohen will be honored for his 40 years of service in the Dallas community. The festive reception, which will also celebrate his 60th birthday, will be held at the Addison Conference Center, 15650 Addison Road in Addison, at 7 p.m. Hundreds are expected to join in this tribute to Rabbi Cohen, who for 35 years served first as cantor and then as rabbi of Tiferet Israel in Dallas, and for the last four years as founder and rabbi of Congregation Nishmat Am in Plano.
Since coming to Dallas in 1969, Rabbi Yitzchak Cohen has served as cantor, rabbi, educator, counselor and communal leader. For four decades his leadership, his unique personality and his loyal service to hundreds of people and their families have contributed immeasurably to the growth of Jewish life in Greater Dallas.
The son of Holocaust survivors, Rabbi Cohen was born in Cracow, Poland in 1949 and raised in Jerusalem. There he received his education; there his vocal talent was uncovered and cultivated.
In short time, he was dubbed a “wunderkind” and invitations to perform started to arrive from Europe and America. In America, Rabbi Cohen performed on the concert stage and in the Yiddish theater, and shared the stage with such icons as Molly Picon, Jan Peerce and Richard Tucker.
At the age of 17 he was appointed cantor of Congregation Ohev Shalom in Washington, D.C., and won the distinction of being the youngest person ever to hold a senior cantor’s position at a congregation in North America.
In 1970 Rabbi Cohen and his wife, Rosie, came to Dallas, where he began his career as cantor and rabbi at Congregation Tiferet Israel.
In 2005, after serving Tiferet Israel for 35 years, Rabbi Cohen, along with a small group of supporters, established Congregation Nishmat Am to serve the growing Jewish population of Collin County. In 3-1/2 years, Nishmat Am has created a distinct brand of prayer, outreach, education and affiliation, bringing to its congregants and many visitors Rabbi Cohen’s unique style of embrace into Jewish life.
Throughout his life, Rabbi Cohen has had a special place in his heart for the state of Israel. Raised as a “Yerushalmi” in the streets of Machane Yehudah, he has a natural love for Israel as his homeland, as his place of birth and as the home to hundreds of friends and family.
Rabbi Cohen is most proud of the family that he and Rosie have raised — their daughter Hannah and her husband David; their daughter Sharon and her husband Israel; and their son Jacob and his wife Mara. They have blessed them with seven beautiful grandchildren — Marisa and Jordan Loev; Gavriella, Eden and Dov Ashkenazy; and Orly and Avi Cohen.
Countless families and innumerable people have had their lives influenced by Rabbi Cohen; have developed a friendship with him and his wife, Rosie; and have been blessed by his counsel and presence whenever and wherever needed.
On Sunday, the community will have the opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary life and career of Rabbi Cohen and to thank him for his outstanding service.
For more information about the event, please call Congregation Nishmat Am at 972-618-2200.

Dr. Gideon Fishman visits Dallas as part of JFGD’s Partnership with Israel

Dr. Gideon Fishman, president of Western Galilee College (WGC) in Israel, recently visited several cities in the United States, including Dallas. While here, he was hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas (JFGD) and visited and lectured at Southern Methodist University and the University of North Texas. A meeting with Dr. Fishman at the University of North Texas included several professors in UNT’s Jewish studies program and university provost and vice-president for academic affairs, Wendy K. Wilkins. It resulted in a commitment to collaborate with WCG on pertinent research and in the creation of scholarly publications.
A passionate educator, Dr. Fishman has worked hard to elevate the status of Western Galilee College, which serves 3,900 students and recently received independent accreditation. The school is also creating two new departments, one in conservation and archaeology, the other in theater and dance. Many students at WGC are the first in their families to attend college; when necessary, up to a year of remedial education is available to those who need to improve academically before beginning college-level studies. No one is turned away because of inability to pay.
JFGD has been able to allocate $293,150 this year to fund such programs in an ongoing initiative, Partnership with Israel, because of the generous support of its donors. As one of 16 U.S. Jewish communities that join to collaborate with the Western Galilee, JFGD makes a direct impact on the day-to-day lives of Israeli citizens.
Through relevant educational and cultural exchange programs, Partnership with Israel promotes the goals of developing Israel’s peripheries, increasing Jewish identity and helping Jews in the Diaspora to develop a significant relationship with Israel. For more information about the overseas programs of the Federation, contact Deborah Fisher at 214-615-5250 or dfisher@jfgd.org.
JFGD is the central coordinating agency for the Dallas Jewish community, raising funds for Jewish organizations locally, in Israel and around the world. The Federation supports local and national and overseas agencies, and unites Jews for a common purpose: to ensure that Jewish people live in safety and in an environment of spiritual, educational and cultural enrichment. For more information about JFGD, call 214-369-3313 or visit www.jewishdallas.org.

Robert Edsel to speak on stolen art and Holocaust

Robert Edsel is a man on a mission: to tell of the greatest art theft in human history and the great “untold story” of the men and women who tried to make things right again. There are two opportunities to meet Robert, the intelligent, engaging, well-spoken 2008 Hope for Humanity honoree of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, and author of the just-released book, “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History” (Center Street, 2009).
Tonight, Thursday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 p.m., at the Horchow Auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Art, Edsel will be the featured speaker at Arts & Letters Live. Tickets are available at tickets.dallasmuseumofart.org
On Monday, Nov. 23, at 6 p.m., at Prothro Great Hall at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, Robert will deliver an interactive presentation and lecture as part of the Dallas Holocaust Museum’s series “Holocaust Legacies: Shoah as Turning Point.” More information is available on the free lecture and series at dallasholocaustmuseum.org.
Please plan to attend these events!

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