Dallas Doings: EITC, inclusion Shabbat, Torah fund, Waldman Bros.
Submitted photo Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings honored members of the Jewish Community Relations Council for their help working on the Earned Income Tax Credit.

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

As part of its work promoting the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and free tax preparation for low-income residents in Dallas, the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas accepted an official proclamation from Mayor Mike Rawlings recognizing Friday, Jan. 29 as Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day at a Dallas City Council meeting Jan. 20.
The proclamation seeks to raise awareness of the EITC as a means to alleviate poverty in the greater Dallas area. The EITC is a federal income tax credit that can provide up to $7,000 for low-income working families. It is estimated that Dallas citizens lost $55 million in unclaimed EITC tax credits in 2014 alone.
In their role as a steering committee member and founding organization of the Anti-Poverty Coalition of Greater Dallas, the JCRC took the lead on a successful EITC advocacy initiative, which resulted in the Dallas City Council releasing $200,000 for a marketing effort promoting EITC and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) centers.
At the City Hall presentation, Mayor Rawlings and members of the Dallas City Council noted that the JCRC and the Jewish Federation have been active leaders working in collaboration with others in the fight to end poverty in Dallas. For more information on the JCRC’s social action work, contact jcrcdallas@jfgd.org or 214-615-5293.

Inclusion Shabbat at Beth Torah

Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger will discuss inclusion and embracing differences at a special Inclusion Shabbat service on Saturday, Feb. 6, at Congregation Beth Torah.
The service, marking February’s designation as Jewish Disability and Inclusion Month, will be followed by a luncheon and a study session on the subject led by Rabbi Schlesinger. The public is welcome. Among the guests will be residents of CHAI, Community Homes for Adults, Inc., which provides group homes for people with cognitive difficulties.
Beth Torah is one of 16 congregations in North America participating in a Ruderman Family Foundation initiative to make synagogues more welcoming and inclusive. A special committee at the synagogue is pursuing those goals with an ongoing effort to improve facilities and raise awareness.

Lisa and Randy Fleisher Shearith Torah Fund honorees

Shearith Israel SISterhood will recognize Lisa and Randy Fleisher for their dedication and commitment to Shearith Israel and the Jewish community of Dallas at large in the scope of the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism’s 2016 Torah Fund Campaign. A Champagne brunch in their honor will take place at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 7, in Kaplan Auditorium at Shearith Israel, 9401 Douglas Ave. in Dallas.
Torah Fund, created in 1942 as a scholarship fund, assures that our traditions, rituals and culture continue to thrive by raising funds for future rabbis, cantors and Jewish educators at The Jewish Theological Seminary, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, and Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies.
Admission to this event is available for $36 and a minimum Torah Fund contribution of $18. Sponsorship opportunities range from $36 to $10,000. Contributions of $180 or more include a special pin named Nat’ah Karem, from the beloved prayer Eishet Chayil, with appreciation for the hard-working, generous, family-oriented woman, who “plants a vineyard by her own labors” (Proverbs 31:7).
To make your contribution in honor of Lisa and Randy Fleisher, please contact Harriet Stern at 972-931-5299 or Arona Ackermann at arona@sbcglobal.net.

Business scene: Eric Goldberg


Mazal Tov to Waldman Bros Vice President, Property and Casualty, Eric A. Goldberg, who has received the designation of Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), following his successful completion of a rigorous insurance education program sponsored by the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors.
“It is an honor to earn the CIC designation in the insurance industry, and we couldn’t be more proud of Eric and his dedication to his craft and ongoing professional development,” said Stephen A. Waldman, CEO of Waldman Bros. “Throughout his career, his contributions have not only strengthened our overall business, but he has provided invaluable counsel to our clients and fellow team members.”
The Society of CIC is a key member of The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, the nation’s pre-eminent provider of insurance and risk management education. The National Alliance conducts more than 2,500 programs annually, throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Currently, more than 31,000 agents and insurance professionals have received the CIC designation.
Goldberg has demonstrated his expertise through the successful completion of the five CIC institutes and comprehensive written examinations focusing on all major fields of insurance, insurance management and agency operations.
In his role at Waldman Bros, Goldberg is responsible for new business development for commercial and personal insurance. He has spent a significant amount of time learning detailed information, engaging in product knowledge and, ultimately, becoming a practice expert. Goldberg consistently establishes a high level of trust with clients and team members, enabling him to provide optimal service and counsel to enhance the insurance process.
In addition, Goldberg is active in the Dallas community, currently serving on the board of Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas. He is a past board member of Dallas Furniture Bank and Temple Emanu-El. In 2015, he received the Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies’ Leadership Award for his commitment and efforts for Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas.

Why do Jews say mazal tov and l’chaim?

The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) will present The Jewish Course of Why, the institute’s new six-session winter 2016 course that will begin during the week of Feb. 5.
“No religion is known for its rational basis and its welcoming of questions and intellectual debate quite like Judaism,” explained Rabbi Zalman Abraham of JLI’s headquarters in Brooklyn.
“In preparing for the course, we turned to over 30,000 people who each submitted their biggest questions about Judaism. We then selected the most popular among them and addressed each one with resonant insights from the greatest minds in Jewish history.”
The Jewish Course of Why spans a diverse range of topics, from fun, light, and off-the-beaten-track questions, to more complex and controversial issues. Some of the course’s 50 questions include: Why do Jews eat gefilte fish and cholent and wish each other mazal tov and l’chaim? Why does the Bible sanction slavery and animal sacrifices? What is the cause of anti-Semitism? What does Judaism say about Christianity and about the role of women in Jewish life? Why are there no more miracles of biblical proportions? Why are there so many Jews in Hollywood? In addition to the above, the course offers insight into mysterious Jewish practices, strange biblical narratives, and enigmas of Jewish identity.
“We’re excited to be offering this fun and dynamic learning experience,” said Rabbi Menachem Block, the local JLI instructor in Plano. “The Jewish Course of Why gives our participants the opportunity to expand their Jewish knowledge and intellectualize their Judaism by exploring rational insights into the most intriguing questions that Jews have today.”
Like all previous JLI programs, The Jewish Course of Why is designed to appeal to people at all levels of Jewish knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. All JLI courses are open to the public, and attendees need not be affiliated with a particular synagogue, temple, or other house of worship.
Interested students may call any of the phone numbers or visit any of the websites below for registration and other course-related information.
JLI, the adult education branch of Chabad Lubavitch, offers programs in more than 350 U.S. cities and in numerous foreign locations, including Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela. More than 260,000 students have attended JLI classes since the organization was founded in 1998. Their website is www.myjli.com.
This course will be given at the following Chabad locations in North Texas:
Chabad of Dallas, 6710 Levelland Road, Dallas; six-week course begins Thursday, Feb. 11, 7-8:30 p.m.; instructor, Rabbi Moshe Naparstek; cost is $99 per person/$180 per couple. To register, visit www.chabadofdallas.com/jli or call 972-818-0770, or email jli@chabadofdallas.com.
Chabad of Plano, Lang Chabad Center, 3904 West Park Blvd., Plano; six-week course begins Sunday, Feb. 7, 9:30-11 a.m., or Tuesday, Feb. 9, 7:30-9 p.m. (The same class is given twice a week to accommodate people’s busy lives. Each week students are welcome to attend either one); instructor, Rabbi Menachem Block; cost is $100 per person/$180 per couple. To register, visit www.chabadplano.org/jli or call 972-596-8270, or email connect@chabadplano.org.
Chabad of Arlington, 1861 Brown Blvd., #213, Arlington; six-week course begins Sunday, Feb. 7, 12:30-2 p.m., or Monday, Feb. 8, 7-8:30 p.m.; instructor, Rabbi Levi Gurevitch; cost is $89 per person. To register, visit www.arlingtonchabad.org/jli or call 817-451-1171, or email info@arlingtonchabad.org.

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