Dallas Doings: Beth Torah, Baruch Habah, Portnoy

Beth Torah to honor
Leventon and Winter

Congregation Beth Torah’s Sisterhood will fete two young members as this year’s joint Torah Fund Honorees, recognizing their work to enhance and expand opportunities for the synagogue’s youngest members.
Rachel Leventon and Jessica Winter will be honored at noon Sunday, Feb. 10, at a dairy brunch in Beth Torah’s newly remodeled social hall.
Leventon and her husband, Isaac, 13-year Beth Torah members, are parents of Caleb, 8½; Miriam, 6½; and Shira, 1½. Winter and her husband, Douglas, are parents of Noah, who became a bar mitzvah at Beth Torah last summer, and Kaitlyn, who will mark her bat mitzvah in June 2020.
Leventon, an Alabama native, met her future husband when both were counselors at a Jewish camp in Georgia. They married after he received his law degree from the University of Texas at Austin. They’ve lived in Richardson since 2006 and now live just a half-mile from Beth Torah.
Winter, originally from Bridgeport, also had Jewish camping experience. Trained in accounting and administration, she came to Dallas in 1993 for her continuing management career in copier sales and service. She and her husband met the “modern” way, through computer dating, and live in Plano.
The two women have worked closely together on innovative programming for young children. Beth Torah’s initial “Tot Shabbat” has grown to include services for even the very youngest members on High Holidays and Sukkot. The Hand-in-Hand initiative is offered on two Sundays each month for babies, toddlers and pre-kindergartners. This program incorporates arts and crafts, music, movement and Jewish stories and traditions. Membership in Beth Torah is not required for participation.
Both honorees have led services, held positions on the Synagogue Board and lend their voices to the congregation’s volunteer music-makers for the monthly Friday evening “Joyful Noise” service.
Said Leventon: “Our goal is to create community, to give parents and other adults the opportunity to engage with their kids in a Jewish setting.”
Added Winter: “It’s amazing to watch the children get comfortable, knowing who they are and where they are with a ‘family’ of teachers and friends.”
The Beth Torah Sisterhood’s Torah Fund tradition began a quarter of a century ago, with the late Esther Cohen as its first honoree. Her daughter Robyn Rose was honored last year. Tradition also dictates that the most recently honored woman chairs the annual event, with all past honorees serving as the committee.
All are welcome to attend the 2018 event. Cost is $25 for the synagogue brunch at 720 Lookout Drive, Richardson. In addition, a minimum contribution of $18 to the Torah Fund of the Women’s League of Conservative Judaism is required. These tax-deductible contributions benefit five institutions, located in the United States, Israel, Argentina and Germany, that educate Conservative rabbis, cantors and teachers.
For information and to make reservations, contact Elaine Scharf, Beth Torah Sisterhood’s Torah Fund chair, at 972-307-3521 or email ebscharf@verizon.net.

Baruch Habah to the
TJP’s newest columnist

The TJP is thrilled to welcome Matan (his English name is Josh) Rudner, who made Aliyah to Israel in August 2017, as a monthly columnist.
Matan is the son of Lisa and Steve Rudner of Dallas and the brother of Jordan and Zach (his twin). He is a graduate of Ann and Nate Levine Academy and Greenhill School in 2017. Matan’s first installment of “Dispatch from the Homeland” can be found on Page 13 of this week’s TJP. It explains in detail what motivated him to make aliyah.
We look forward to hearing more from Matan every month.

Next steps for Portnoy

David Portnoy, Yavneh head of school for the past seven years, has been named the new head of school of the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus (AEC) in Las Vegas. Portnoy will begin at AEC in July 2019. He will continue at Yavneh through June 2019. AEC is a community Jewish school serving students ages 18 months to 18 years, with 450 students enrolled in preschool through grade 12.
“Serving the Yavneh and Dallas Jewish communities these past seven years has been an extraordinary privilege and pleasure, in large part because of the opportunity to meet exceptional people such as yourself, as well as hundreds of students, parents, alumni, donors and other community members,” Portnoy wrote recently in an email to the community.

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