Harris to lead Center for Jewish Education
Rabbi Mordechai Harris is the new executive director and rabbi in residence of the Center for Jewish Education of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. Rabbi Harris began his role Aug. 1.
“With Rabbi Harris at the helm, the Center for Jewish Education will drive collaboration, develop partnerships and enhance education in the Jewish community,” said Mariam Shpeen Feist, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. “We are excited to welcome him.”
The appointment of Rabbi Harris follows an extensive search effort. As executive director of the Center for Jewish Education (CJE), Harris will serve as the primary education representative to the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and the professional leader of the CJE.
“It is rare to find someone with this combination of professional experience and personal attributes,” said Gary Wolff, chief operating officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. “Rabbi Harris’ understanding extends from the pulpit to the classroom. I am excited to see our Jewish educational community grow under his leadership.”
Originally from Schenectady, New York, Rabbi Harris attended the University of Rochester and spent a year in Israel learning at Yeshivat Bat Ayin. His career includes roles as the associate regional director for upstate New York NCSY and youth rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of White Plains. He was a Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) fellow at SUNY Albany and served for four years as the assistant rabbi of the Baron Hirsch Congregation in Memphis, Tennessee. Most recently Rabbi Harris was the director of the Center for Jewish Living and Learning in Memphis. He is joined in Dallas by his wife, Nisa, and their three daughters.
Epstein will introduce free screening of ‘The Hurt Locker’
The EOD Warrior Foundation will host a free screening of the “Hurt Locker” from 11 a.m., to 2:15 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25, at The Texas Theatre, 231 West Jefferson in Dallas.
“The Hurt Locker,” which won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Picture, stars Jeremy Renner. The film follows an Iraq War Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team. The team is targeted by insurgents, and the film deals with their psychological reactions to the stress of combat, which is intolerable to some and addictive to others.
Lt. Judah Epstein of the U.S. Air Force Reserve will give an introduction to the film. Epstein graduated from the Naval School, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Detachment, at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida in June. He is an EOD/civil engineer officer in the Air Force Reserve. In addition the Plano High School graduate earned a Bachelor of Science from SMU and two Master of Science degrees from UTD (Management and Administration and Geosciences: Sedentary Water Filtration).
Epstein’s multifaceted training has allowed him to serve as a wilderness guide and participate in worldwide scientific, engineering, medical training and exploration expeditions. He is also a PADI dive master, master scuba diver, NRA pistol instructor, EMT medic, ham radio operator, H2S poisonous gas and SCBA instructor and reserve deputy sheriff.
Among his past professional experience he has been a field engineer with Schlumberger and Welltec.
Judah is the son of Robbe and Robert Epstein and Debra Epstein. He is the brother of Barak, Arielle, Kayla and Rachel.
Judah follows in the footsteps of those who came before him when it comes to service to country. His grandfather, Lt. Mort Epstein, was a C-47 pilot who dropped paratroopers behind enemy lines at the Battle of D-Day. One of his great-great-great-grandfathers was an officer in the Union Army in the Civil War. Another great-great-great-grandfather was in the Texas Brigade in the Confederate Army.
His insights should be valuable to an already powerful movie.