By Sharon Wisch-Ray
If your own children or those of friends or family have attended Ann and Nate Levine Academy at some point over the last three decades, you have no doubt had an encounter with Wende Weinberg, the school’s director of Jewish Studies.
I have always thought of Wende as the “Energizer Bunny” — constantly moving and making sure that all of Levine’s many programs, special events and trips go off smoothly and without a hitch. My own three kids have benefited from her wisdom, energy and general menschlichkeit over the 13 years we were at the school.
So, Friday, May 29, when Levine Academy’s Class of 2015 celebrated its final Shabbat at the school, the usually ebullient year-end mood was somewhat subdued given the medical news handed to their beloved Wende just the day before.
Most Levine students have known Wende their entire lives — either from school or as congregants of Anshai Torah, where Wende’s husband Stefan serves as rabbi. Once Wende shared her diagnosis of lung cancer, the graduating class whom she had bonded with during their entire time at Levine and their most recent March trip to Israel quickly jumped into action, much as Wende has modeled for them over the years.
All they had learned about giving back and doing for others kicked in and Ben Levkovich, Matthew Stevens and Sarah Kleyman approached the administration about holding a fundraiser at the already planned Parent Association Summer Send-Off and Blood Drive for Bennett Towbin that was being held on Sunday, May 31.
Inspired by Wende and with the help of parent Carole Stevens, the eighth-grade class put together a lemonade stand to collect funds to be earmarked for lung cancer medical research, raising more than $225.
Yasher Koach to all the students involved!
As Wende goes through further testing to determine the best course of treatment, our hearts, prayers, love and support go out to her and her family — Stefan, Danielle, Jordana and Adina — as we pray for a refuah shlemah, a complete healing for Wende!
BAZ in Las Vegas
If you are heading to Las Vegas this summer, you can catch the musical spectacular BAZ at the Mandalay Bay on Wednesday through Monday nights starting June 19.
Olivia Harris, daughter of Holly Kuper and the late Hugh Harris, will appear in the 90-minute show throughout the summer. Olivia is a graduate of Akiba Academy and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas as well as Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
In 2012, Harris had a feature role in The Playroom, a film about a 1970s family fraught with family dysfunction.
The film was featured at Videofest 25 in September 2012 in Dallas. In a TJP profile of Harris in August 2012, Harris’ mother Holly Kuper said, “We’d sing in the car, before bedtime, during family vacation car rides. Kuper, a photographer, was always intent on sharing the beauty of many forms of art with her daughter.
“Since Olivia was little, she’s devoted herself to whatever matters to her. A science project was never ‘just’ an assignment, but always filled with design, learning and depth. Everything she does is that way. She’s not interested in the fame or the reviews,” Kuper said.
News and notes
Dr. Marshal Goldberg was installed as the president of the Dallas County Dental Society on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at a gala event at the Park Cities Hilton. Dallas County Dental Society represents over 1,100 dentists in the Metroplex.
Dr. Goldberg, a specialist in periodontics and dental implants, with an office in North Dallas, has been in practice for 25 years. He and his wife, Cyndi Heller, have been married almost 30 years and they have two beautiful children, Josh and Jenna Goldberg. Congratulations to Dr. Goldberg!
Mazal tov to Blake Silverthorn, who just graduated from Texas Tech University with a BA in media strategies. Blake started May 26 as an associate producer with the Dallas Cowboys. He is cofounder and a three-year producer/director of Texas Tech’s Double T Insider, which he sold to FOX Sports Southwest.
Blake was an intern at the Cowboys since he was just 13. Blake is the son of Deb and Eric Silverthorn of Plano.
Kathi Sebastian (née Ravkind) has joined the Retina Foundation of the Southwest at its major gift director. Her role is to help find a cure for age-related macular degeneration by seeking support from donors to invest in the amazing research being done at the Foundation. Mazal Tov to Kathi on this position and her recent marriage to Don Sebastian April 19.
Kathleen Hoffman, teacher in the Weinreb Early Childhood Center infant class, was honored with the 2015 Sadie and William Waldman Teacher Excellence Award at Levine Academy.
This award, established in 1988, recognizes teachers who exhibit a commitment to the school, a passion for education and a love of learning!