Hotter than ever!

17th annual Dallas Kosher Chili Cookoff this Sunday

The 17th annual Dallas Kosher Chili Cookoff at Tiferet Israel Congregation is slated for this Sunday, March 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — and the event promises to be hotter than ever!
Co-chairs Jay Abrams, Diane Benjamin and Janet Bubis have organized an incredible team of volunteers for this festivity that welcomes over 3,000 chili lovers annually. More than 39 local team entries, including past winning teams Tom Thumb, Frisco Fire and Rescue Firemen, Bnai Zion Foundation, Metroplex synagogues and many local charitable organizations, will vie for bragging rights for the best chili on the synagogue campus.
Past judges have included Mayor Laura Miller, State Senator Florence Shapiro and local radio and television personalities. According to Judges’ Chairman Harry Kabler, “This year’s judges must have cast-iron stomachs, but hearts of gold.” They will include Mayor Tom Leppert; Terlingua Chili Cookoff Judge Mike Sweet; Spice of Life Catering owner Jeff Kollinger; Simcha Kosher Catering owner Lowell Michelson; and Frank Seddio, general manager of Sparkman-Hillcrest — and there’s a strong possibility that Kinky Friedman will appear to help with the tasting and book signing.
More than 20 vendors will participate. Barry Wernick, comic book writer and movie producer (, will be on-site to autograph his newest comic book as well. Barry, the son of Diane Benjamin, also produced the Dallas Kosher Chili Cookoff DVD, which further demonstrates how Jews in Texas maintain their Jewish identities in a kosher setting. Whether one keeps kosher or not, the event serves to unify the Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and unaffiliated in our community while also attracting non-Jews — all who enjoy good, wholesome family fun and camaraderie, Texas-style.
The program will commence with the formal patriotic Presentation of the Colors at 11 a.m. by the Dr. Harvey J. Bloom Post #256 of the Jewish War Veterans of America. This post is among the three awardees receiving the Dallas Kosher Chili Cookoff’s annual grants. This year, grants are also being given to the Dallas Furniture Bank and the Jewish Family Service Special Needs Initiative, which lends educational services to special-needs children. Over $70,000 has been awarded to local charities by Tiferet Israel from a portion of the profits of this fun-filled community event.
Tiferet Israel Congregation, at 10909 Hillcrest Road (corner of Royal Lane), is a unique synagogue enriched by history, culture and tradition, as it is celebrating its 120th year. It is often recognized, according to President Ed Jerome, “as the small but vibrant and fast-growing synagogue with the ‘Big as Texas’ heart.”
Children’s entertainment will include a bounce house, rock climbing, face painting, hula hoop contests, basketball and baseball games and more, with the wonderful background music of the Mazik Brothers performing live on the bandstand. Seated eating areas are also available near the food vendors offering hot dogs, hamburgers, drinks, popcorn and cotton candy. The entrance fee includes all-you-can-eat chili samplings. Admission is $10 for adults; for children under 11, the $5 admission fee includes a hot dog.
For further information, visit or call 214-691-3611.

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