Dallas Doings

Dan Nichols performs at Temple Shalom this Shabbat

Cantor Don Croll tells the TJP that the Life Long Learning Department of Temple Shalom is very excited about bringing one of the most popular Jewish singer/songwriters to the Metroplex:
“In the past for our ‘composer-in-residence weekends,’ we’ve featured such notable composers as Ben Steinberg, Jack Gottlieb and Dallas’ own Simon Sargon. This year we wanted to showcase a composer of a different writing genre: specifically one who would attract the attention of a younger audience. Dan Nichols was the perfect choice. His music is sung at all the Reform Jewish camps in the United States and Canada and I’m sure at Ramah camps as well.
“He’ll be singing at our Shabbat service this Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the Main Sanctuary where much of his music will be presented. I have been teaching the congregation some of his sweet settings and I remarked to myself last Friday that his tunes are already being learned by our regular attendees.
“Saturday at 4 p.m. he will let loose with an all-out rock concert which will be Jewish in nature yet with current musical sounds.
“These venues are free and open to the public. His CDs are currently on sale in our gift shop and will be sold after his concert on Saturday where he has agreed to sign them if someone so desires.
“And I must say that although this guy is a rock star to the Jewish camp kids, he’s a mensch too!”

Yavneh’s Leigh Bonner  named Verizon FiOS Community Leader

Verizon FiOS saved the best for last in choosing the latest of their 2010 Verizon FiOS Community Leaders of the Week, naming Yavneh’s Leigh Bonner ‘11, president of Yavneh’s Students Against Terrorism sponsored Points for Peace tournament, to the post.
Bonner, selected from over 200 participating schools in DFW, was the only female non-student athlete selected for the award, meeting the criteria of one who consistently demonstrates Verizon’s core values of integrity, respect, accountability and performance excellence in their activities at home, at school and in the community.
“It is no wonder that Yavneh’s own is being recognized for outstanding leadership within the community. Our students through Judaic principles and ethos have learned, and they live, the concept of tikkun olam, repairing the world,” said Allyn Schmucker, Yavneh’s director of guidance and the source of Bonner’s nomination. “With such compassion and commitment, Leigh is a shining example that our students can and do make a difference. Leigh works always for the ‘whole,’ whether it be a class, an organization or on a broader scale, for humanity and this passion has driven her to strive for success. With such caring, Leigh is a shining example that our students can and do make a difference.”
“What set Leigh apart from other nominees is that she chose to use athletics as a common denominator to effect positive change in her community — change that will make a lasting contribution in so many lives, both here and abroad,” said Crystal R. Patton, Sr., marketing manager for Verizon. “Sporting activities are among the most unifying commonalities of all, and I believe that is one of the reasons the Points for Peace initiative has been so successful in raising funds to increase awareness about the devastating effects of terrorism.”
The Points for Peace 3-on-3 basketball tournament, this year set for March 6, and other Students Against Terrorism projects have raised close to $500,000 in the last eight years. Beneficiaries of the organizations include the One Family Fund, Camp Koby, Keren Malki, ATZUM and sharing in the sponsorship of an ambulance for Magen David Adom.
“I am so honored and thankful to win the award, speechless actually, but it means so much to me that Verizon recognized the work of Students Against Terrorism,” said Bonner, who, in addition to the award, received a check for $1,000 to begin the 2011 Points for Peace season. “This money can really help start the 2011 Points For Peace Tournament out strong, and I want nothing more than for P4P to be as successful as it can be this year.”
“Leigh’s academic performance, innovation and leadership through SAT, and her selfless sense of responsibility for the well-being of others, are all testaments to her sense of integrity, respect and performance excellence,” Patton said. “To say that she embodies and embraces the core values that our company is built upon, is an understatement.”
To see the Verizon FiOS feature on Leigh Bonner, visit www.insidehighschoolfootball.com/ihsf/fios. For more information, or to register for P4P 2011, e-mail info@yavnehdallas.org.

CSI upcoming events: memorializing Debbie Friedman, one-man play

Two spiritually uplifting events will take place at Congregation Shearith Israel on Monday, Feb. 7 honoring the memory of Debbie Friedman, who died last month. Debbie was a legendary Jewish singer, songwriter and teacher who transformed the face of Jewish music with her spiritually energizing, contemporary songs. Her career began as a song leader in Reform Jewish summer camps, and over the next several decades she released 20 albums, performed at sold-out concerts all over the country and was appointed to the faculty at HUC-JIR’s School of Sacred Music in New York. Congregations throughout the world utilize her music during services. Her Mishebeirach prayer for healing is one of her most well-known. Directly following the 6 p.m. Mincha/Maariv minyan, there will be a brief healing service marking the passing of Debbie Friedman. If you are in need of physical, spiritual or emotional healing, or you desire to support those who do, CSI welcomes your participation. The service will consist of uplifting prayers, meditations, readings and songs which will help strengthen each other in coming together as one community. Come to be comforted, to comfort others and to strive to find hope and peace in prayer. After the healing service, at 7 p.m., there is a kumsitz session (informal musical gathering) where Debbie’s memory will be honored by singing many of her well-known compositions, accompanied by some of CSI’s talented guitarists. Both programs are being hosted by Sheri Allen and Raquel Gershon, and are free and open to the community.
“God of Our Fathers,” an original one-man play featuring actor-playwright Jonathan Ross, will be performed Thursday, Feb. 10, from 7:15 to 9 p.m. at Congregation Shearith Israel. Tickets are $5 per person and are available at the CSI concierge desk. In a time when religion plays such a large role in the way our world is run, “God of Our Fathers” provides a look into the role religion plays in our homes; it follows all the members of a fictional American Jewish family as they live through a generation of assimilation. This is a tale of love and family, and the role that religion plays in defining who we are as people. At times hilarious and touching, the play features many characters, from Elaine Zipper, the goofy president of the Beth Shalom sisterhood, to Jacob Greenbaum, the Poland-born patriarch who drives the play. It’s a lifecycle piece, but also a close-up examination of modern religious life in America. “God of Our Fathers” is acted by Jonathan Ross, co-written by Jonathan and Michael Feldman and directed by Chantal Pavageaux. Jonathan is perhaps best known for his play “Walking in Memphis: The Life of a Southern Jew.” He is a founding company member of Storahtelling: Jewish Ritual Theatre Revived. Aside from acting, Jonathan is a faculty member of the Spielberg Fellowship in Jewish theater education, a program of the Foundation for Jewish Camping and the Righteous Persons Foundation. His acting roots stem from his long-term association with Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, where he serves as director of the drama program. Jonathan is a frequent artist-in-residence at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and synagogues and Jewish organizations throughout the country.
For more information on any of the above, please contact Mona Allen, mallen@shearith.org or 214-361-6606 ext. 218, or visit www.shearith.org. Congregation Shearith Israel is located at 9401 Douglas Ave. in Dallas.

Rabbis volunteer at food bank

Rabbi Adam Raskin, president of the Rabbinic Association of Greater Dallas, would like TJP readers to know about a community project that Dallas-area Conservative, Orthodox and Reform rabbis are doing together. On Tuesday, Feb. 15, a diverse delegation of rabbis will volunteer jointly at the North Texas Food Bank from 9 a.m. to noon. This will be a demonstration of unity and commitment across the ideological spectrum to addressing hunger in our community — not just through sermons and words, but through direct action. Rabbi Raskin stresses the significance of such a diverse group of rabbis, men and women, who may have profound differences in other ways, uniting to carry out this project. He hopes it will inspire others to act with generosity, sensitivity and volunteerism.
Sarit Hadad comes to Dallas
Israeli singer Sarit Hadad will perform at the Eisemann Center, Bank of America Theatre, 2351 Performing Drive in Richardson, on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m., as part of her tour throughout North America. Tickets are available through the theater box office at 972-744-4650. Tickets and information may also be obtained by calling 972-679-8255 or visiting www.fouadovadia.com.
Laugh, eat and discuss:
Beth Torah gets involved
Congregation Beth Torah’s confirmation class will be going to New Orleans to assist in cleaning up areas that are still affected by Hurricane Katrina. It’s hard to believe that it has been five years since Hurricane Katrina and even harder to believe that New Orleans is still in need of repair. Rabbi Adam Raskin and the 2011 confirmation class will spend three days in New Orleans doing various projects that will aid in the clean-up effort.
To help offset the cost of the trip, the class is bringing to Beth Torah the “Locked Out Comedy” improv troupe for a night of comedy that is fun and clean for the entire family, on Sunday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. Tickets are only $15 each. If you haven’t had a chance to see this professional (and local) troupe perform, you are in for a treat. And if you have, then you know that no two performances are ever the same. For more information about the troupe, go to www.lockedoutcomedy.com.
Congregation Beth Torah Sisterhood and Men’s Club are hosting their annual joint lox-and-bagel breakfast, also on Sunday, Feb. 13. The theme is “Oscar Talk II: The Sequel,” featuring two prominent local film critics, Stephen Becker of KERA and Chris Vognar of the Dallas Morning News, discussing all things cinematic. All are welcome, and breakfast is $10. It starts at 9:30 a.m. at Beth Torah, 720 W. Lookout Drive in Richardson.

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