Dallas Doings: Yavneh, Kreditor

Yavneh hoop teams place second at annual Baltimore tournament

For the first time in their collective history, the Yavneh Bulldogs’ girls’ and boys’ basketball teams both advanced to the Championships at the Beth Tfiloh Weiner Basketball Tournament in Baltimore, Maryland. The tournament draws Jewish high school teams from the U.S., Israel and Canada. Both Bulldogs teams fell short during the championship games, but they showed tremendous heart and grit throughout the tournament.
“While winning championships and playing basketball are wonderful goals, the true winners of this tournament are all the participants from around the world that come together in the incredible Jewish community of Baltimore to play, daven, practice tikkun olam, and above all else establish relationships that will last a lifetime,” said David Zimmerman, Yavneh athletic director and head boys’ basketball coach.
—Submitted by
Sara Mancuso

Photo: Courtesy Mark Kreditor
Mark Kreditor will share the history of Jewish songwriters who wrote Christmas songs and lead a sing-along at “The Jews of Christmas,” Dec. 15 at Shearith Israel.
Kreditor will dish about Christmas music and its Jewish songwriters Dec. 15

Santa Claus would not be coming to town — at least not with such a musical flourish — without Jewish songwriter Fred Coots, who penned the song in 1934, when it became an overnight hit! Are you surprised a Jewish songwriter wrote one of the most iconic Christmas songs? In fact, almost all the great Christmas classics were written by Jewish songwriters. On Sunday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. at Congregation Shearith Israel, Mark Kreditor will present an informational sing-along: “The Jews of Christmas.”
Kreditor grew up as a shul kid going to services with his late father and like most kids learned to lead services in preparation for his bar mitzvah. He played trumpet in his school band, which gave him the opportunity to blow the shofar. Throughout high school and college, he also played the piano and studied composition and theory. Out of this varied experience came an appreciation of the deep connection Judaism has to American society. Building on that connection, and the knowledge that many songwriters were the children of professional cantors, Mark teaches about the connections of synagogue and theater.
“On Shabbat, as you sit in shul, you’ll hear the genius Jews have in the area of music, theater and film,” he says. “Think about the aliyah chant when the Torah is read; the melody sounds like ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’ written by George and Ira Gershwin. When we sing the melody of ‘Hatikvah’ to the prayer just before we recite the Shema, can you hear the melody of ‘Brother Can You Spare A Dime?’”
Kreditor says it’s not a coincidence. “The mind of a songwriter is like a computer with unlimited memory. These songwriters were raised Jewish, probably had bar mitzvahs and had these shul melodies in their kishkas.”
When it came to the holidays, these Jewish songwriters employed their shul backgrounds to write Christmas songs. During Kreditor’s informational sing-along you’ll learn many humorous, interesting stories about the songs we all love to sing.
Kreditor has taught many popular courses at the JCC and given lectures throughout the country on all subjects Jewish and musical. Plus, his weekly Melton classes at the Aaron Family JCC are always filled to capacity. Mark, now retired from a career in property management, was most recently the chairman of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. He and his wife Carol have two daughters, a wonderful son-in-law and a very cute granddaughter.
To celebrate the genius of Jewish songwriting, register for “The Jews of Christmas” at www.shearith.org or call 214-361-6606.
—Submitted by
Julie Carpenter

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