By Sharon Wisch-Ray
Hillels of North Texas welcomes new executive director
Hillels of North Texas has named Melissa Duchin as its new executive director.
Hillels of North Texas is home for Jewish university students in Denton, Plano and Richardson. Hillel welcomes students from all backgrounds and enables them to form personal connections to Jewish living and Israel. Through Shabbat and holiday programming, social gatherings, Taglit-Birthright trips, and learning opportunities throughout the school year, Hillel enriches students’ Jewish lives on campus.
Duchin started June 1 and has hit the ground running. She plans to cultivate a flourishing Hillel community at the University of North Texas (UNT) and the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), building future Jewish community leaders for the Dallas/Fort Worth community.
Stacey Clark, the adult board president for Hillels of North Texas, said, “Melissa is a tremendous asset to our Hillel chapters. She has a wonderful enthusiasm for engaging students and brings prior experience in the Dallas Jewish community. As both schools are positioned for growth, we are confident she will strengthen our programs at UNT and UTD.”
Duchin comes to Hillel from Temple Emanu-El, where she enhanced the dynamic community of 20s/30s, interfaith families and conversion students. She succeeds Rebecca Gerbert, who was the executive director for Hillels of North Texas from 2011 to 2014 and is now AIPAC’s Southwest Regional Synagogue Initiative deputy director.
A Dallas native and daughter of Rhonda and David Duchin, Melissa has been involved in the Dallas Jewish community since youth. She is active in the Anti-Defamation League, currently serving as co-chair for North Texas/Oklahoma Region’s Young Leadership Board. She is also involved in the world of improvisation and, in May 2014, collaborated on and performed in an evening of improv with local young adult clergy.
“I am thrilled by this opportunity to make a lasting impact on Jewish university students,” Duchin said. “Hillel is a pluralistic, welcoming organization that attracted me since I was an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis. I recognize the importance of providing meaningful, fun experiences while not allowing anti-Israel movements or anti-Semitic rhetoric to deter students from engaging in Jewish living and learning.”
Students attending UNT this fall can look forward to Welcome Back Shabbat Services and Dinner at 6 p.m., Friday, Aug. 28, at the Hillel Alcove, 917 Ave. C.
Students attending UTD this fall can look forward to Welcome Back Havdallah at 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 29, 7 p.m. in the Libra Room, UTD Campus.
Melissa Duchin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 682-334-4689.
Unique art form
Creating art is an adventure that involves playful exploration, invention and revelation.
During a middle school art class at Levine Academy last spring, seventh-grader Tia Einhorn embarked on just such a journey. While investigating possibilities for a nature-themed art project, Tia discovered the sand bowls of artist and industrial designer Leetal Rivlin.
Inspired by Rivlin’s stunning sculptural bowls, Tia set out to create her own version of this unique art form. Knowing full well that her project would involve trial and error, the frustration of starting over multiple times and no guarantee of success, Tia plunged into the challenge without hesitation.
It is this thirst for exploring new possibilities and pursuing the unknown, rather than revisiting what one has already mastered, that marks the spirit of a great emerging artist!
Texas Jewish Arts Association sponsors first student showcase
The Texas Jewish Arts Association will host its first-ever Student Showcase, Oct. 9-18 in the gallery space at the Jewish Community Center in Dallas.
This exhibit, titled Beginnings, will support and promote young artists currently enrolled in eighth through 12th grades. The event is intended to embrace the fresh ideas and artistic sensibilities of young artists, while providing them a venue for showcasing their accomplishments.
Students are free to explore their own associations and ideas related to the Beginnings theme. An opening reception will be held Oct. 11 to honor participants and welcome them into the professional art community.
Students who are interested in participating in the Beginnings exhibit may request additional information and entry forms by contacting co-chairs Wendy Cramer at email@example.com, or Lynn Baskind at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All inquiries are welcome. Submission deadline is Sept. 4, so do not delay!
Cynthia Salzman Mondell’s documentary Sole Sisters is in production and also has been developed into a one-act play titled Shoe Confessions. It has been selected to be one of the six plays featured in the 2015 Festival for Independent Theatres.
The ladies of Wingspan Theatre Co. opened the show Saturday, July 11 at the Bath House Cultural Center. Future performances are at 8 p.m., Thursday, July 16; 2 p.m., Sunday, July 19; 8 p.m., Saturday, July 25; and 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 1.
Call 1-800-617-6904 for tickets or visit www.festivalofindependenttheatres.com/ for festival details.
Thursday, Aug. 27 will be Jewish War Veterans night at the Frisco Rough Riders game. If any JWV/JWVA members or prospective members would like to go to the game, please contact Allan or Sandra Cantor at 972-248-4844.