Dallas Doings: March 17th, 2022

Amanda and Aaron Brown named new chairs of FIDF North Texas 

Photo: FIDF
Amanda and Aaron Brown are the new co-chairs of the North Texas Chapter of the FIDF.

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) has named Amanda and Aaron Brown as the new co-chairs of its North Texas Chapter. The Browns are taking on this new leadership role as Yoram Avneri, former chairman emeritus and founder of the chapter, steps down from his position. Avneri founded and led the chapter since its inception three years ago.

The Browns have been a vital part of FIDF’s mission throughout the past 10 years, contributing to the growth of the North Dallas Chapter since its inception. Over the course of their involvement with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), their family was instrumental in the renovation of fitness centers in the Golan Heights, supporting the training and recreation of soldiers in that region. The Brown family also has rallied behind “Project Overcome,” an important initiative giving soldiers from “at-risk” backgrounds the skills and resources needed for a successful IDF service and future life opportunities. 

Both Amanda and Aaron were born and raised in Dallas. They have three children: Nolan, 8; Marcus, 5; and Evelyn, 2. Aaron serves as the senior vice president of the national logistics firm NFI Industries, and Amanda is a stylist with Neiman Marcus.

“We are so thankful for everything Yoram accomplished in establishing a chapter of FIDF in North Texas. We know he has worked passionately and tirelessly to make FIDF the place for those in North Texas who want to support Israel and her soldiers, and we are excited to learn from and alongside him during our term,” said Amanda.

Avneri was responsible for creating and establishing the North Texas Chapter, raising over $2.5 million in under three short years and, even more impressively, bringing in over 400 new donors from the region. “I am so proud of everything we have accomplished and I’m excited to pass the torch to Aaron and Amanda Brown,” he said. “I know they will take FIDF North Texas to new heights.”

“As a family, we’ve proudly supported FIDF for over 10 years; however, Amanda and I are honored to partner with Janine Reutter on the expansion of FIDF’s North Texas footprint over our upcoming board term,” said Aaron. “We see firsthand the significant impact financial gifts — of all sizes — to FIDF have on soldiers’ lives, and we know this level of transparency, personalization and support sets FIDF apart from other organizations. We look forward to learning and growing with FIDF over the next two years.” 

—Submitted by

Ali Rhodes to receive Temple Shalom Sisterhood Woman of Valor Award

Photo: Courtesy
Ali Rhodes will be honored by Temple Shalom Sisterhood as its Woman of Valor.

Temple Shalom Sisterhood will present the 2021-22 Woman of Valor Award to Ali Rhodes on Sunday, April 10. This award is presented annually to a Sisterhood member who has demonstrated the highest standard of community service, leadership and character. For more than 30 years, Temple Shalom Sisterhood has recognized an extraordinary group of women and this year is no exception. Ali Rhodes embodies what it means to be a woman who uses her strength and power to improve the world. As an active volunteer for Temple Shalom and the community, she has worked passionately in volunteer roles such as Sisterhood’s co-president from 2015 to 2017, auction chair, Temple Shalom board trustee and docent at The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. 

The theme for the event is “She Colors Our World” and the festivities will begin 5:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Plano Legacy West Hotel, 6007 Legacy Drive. It includes a catered dinner, live music from Goga and a silent auction with items such as spa packages, family entertainment, restaurants and sports tickets. Tickets cost $85 per person, $75 per person for those 70 years and older. Proceeds from the event will benefit Temple Shalom Sisterhood and The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. 

To purchase tickets by the March 25 deadline or for silent auction information (the auction goes live April 1 and you don’t have to be present to bid), go to ShalomWOV.givesmart.com or contact Event Chair Lori Kleinfield at Lori.kleinfield@gmail.com.

Shearith Israel to present Galantine Gala March 28

Photo: Submitted
From left, Graciela Whitley of I Support the Girls DFW affiliate, Mindy Faigin and Andrea Solka among donations from 2019 Shearith Israel Social Action Committee Galantine’s Gala

Shearith Israel’s Social Action Committee will present the fifth annual Galentine’s Gala at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 28. This year’s theme is “Spice Gals: Growing Up Jewish in Latin America” and will feature Gabby Aronowitz, Ety Friedman, Florencia Leibaschoff-Saba and Silvia Rosenthal; Brittany Kerstein will moderate. Attendees will taste the cuisine of Latin America and hear stories as the speakers share their Jewish traditions, Latin American culture and recipes from their home countries of Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela. 

The Gala benefits I Support The Girls (ISTG), an international nonprofit that provides menstrual products, bras and panties to women and girls in need. Tickets are $36 and a generous portion of each ticket is donated to ISTG. Tickets may be purchased at t.ly/QB9Y. Attendees are also encouraged to bring additional donations of the above-mentioned items or purchase them from ISTG’s Amazon Wish List.

The Galentine’s Gala began five years ago after Social Action Co-chair Mindy Fagin watched an episode of “Parks and Rec” where women celebrated each other the day before Valentine’s Day. An idea was born, and Mindy and the Social Action committee created and celebrated the first Galentine’s Gala at Shearith on Feb.13, 2017. About 40 women attended the inaugural event that featured three speakers and raised $637 for ISTG. 

Galentine’s has grown each year, although the idea of women befriending and supporting each other remains the same. The Social Action Galentine’s Committee pivoted to Zoom last year for the Gala. Some 175 women attended and more than $5,000 was raised. This year, the committee, which includes Social Action Co-chair Andrea Solka, Carolyn Abrams, Ann Cobert, Anita Friedman, Ruth Hendelman, Marilyn Pailet, Coral Piseck, Kimberly Ross and Belindy Sarembok, has been working hard and invites Dallas Jewish women to attend and celebrate in person. Registration is capped at 140 people and is filling quickly.

—Submitted by 
Shearith Israel Social Action Committee

Rabbi Elana Zelony honored at  SMU Symposium

Photo: Mike Precker
Congregation Beth Torah Rabbi Elana Zelony was honored by the SMU Women’s Symposium with its Profiles in Leadership Award March 2, 2022.

Rabbi Elana Zelony of Congregation Beth Torah has been honored with a Profiles in Leadership Award by the Southern Methodist University Women’s Symposium.

At a banquet on March 2, Rabbi Zelony was one of five women recognized as someone “whose actions and example have served to advance the lives of women in the Dallas area.” The symposium, which was founded in 1966, annually brings together women and men of differing ages and multicultural backgrounds to examine and discuss topics of national interest.

The evening was highlighted by an in-person discussion with Tarana Burke, the author and activist who coined the term “Me Too” and founded the movement encouraging women to come forward and speak about sexual harassment and abuse.

In recognizing Rabbi Zelony, the symposium paid tribute to her status as the first woman to lead a Conservative Jewish congregation in Texas, as well as her emphasis on pluralism, inclusion, interfaith work, spirituality and community involvement. 

Accepting the award, Rabbi Zelony thanked “all the women who have ever pioneered in their field for having the bravery to get on the path and the grit to stick with it when it got hard, so that I arrived in a world of opportunity, and also the men along the way who were their allies and support.”

She also thanked her family, “and my congregants who tell me every day how proud they are that their spiritual leader is a woman. In a career dominated by men, sometimes I have rough days and my congregants are always there to encourage me.”

—Submitted by
Mike Precker 

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