Jack Molad: 90 years young and decades of dedication
Photos: Courtesy Molad Family
“Jack is the quintessential pied-piper; a leader, a force to be reckoned with, he has a vision and a heart of gold,” Congregation Anshai Torah’s Rabbi Stefan Weinberg said of Jack Molad, here with a religious-school student. Anshai Torah and the community will honor Jack Molad March 22.

Anshai Torah will celebrate beloved educator

The only thing sweeter than all the Hershey bars Jack Molad has given in almost 50 years in Dallas is the man himself. An invitation is open to celebrate Molad from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, March 22, at Congregation Anshai Torah. A teen tour reunion for all former participants will continue into the afternoon.

“One of many joys of my rabbinate has been the opportunity to work alongside exceptional individuals and ‘Mar Molad’ is one of those gems,” said Congregation Anshai Torah’s Rabbi Stefan Weinberg. “Jack is the quintessential pied-piper; a leader, a force to be reckoned with, he has a vision and a heart of gold. Dedicated to his love for children, and a passion for their education, in them he’s infused a love for Judaism and a love for the land of Israel.” 

Memories, photos and blessings are being collected, the occasion guaranteed to return the dedication shared by many.

“Children never ‘had’ to study with Jack, they always ‘got’ to and that’s what any parent hopes,” said event chair, Susan Zetley, whose daughters studied with him. “Anytime his name is mentioned, there are smiles. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to bring everyone together to say ‘toda rabah’ for his profound impact.”

Born in Tel Aviv, Molad — named Yitzchak Moladavski and called Izzak until he came to the U.S. — is the son of Manya and Moshe, of blessed memory, and brother of Abir, of blessed memory, and Noam. Proud to be of the generation that created the State of Israel, Molad served in Israel’s army during the War of Independence.

After the army, Molad attended St. Louis University, where he studied aeronautical engineering. Sadly, Molad’s parents died during his freshman year and to continue his schooling he worked washing windows and teaching dancing and Hebrew school. The latter, he realized, was what he was meant to do.

“After graduation I was offered the same salary to teach as I was offered at an engineering firm because the rabbi believed in me,” said Molad, who changed career paths during his four years at Congregation B’nai Amoonah. “I became Jack ‘Ruach,’ devoted to teaching the language and land I love.”

Molad met his future wife, Helaine, in St. Louis. The couple recently celebrated 63 years of marriage. They are the parents of Miriam (Paul) Geller and Steve; grandparents of Molly (Aaron) Rosenberg, Sophie (Ely) Herskowitz and Ari Geller; and great-grandparents of Tali and Dina Rosenberg and Koby and Moshe Herskowitz.

In 1964, the Molad family moved to Omaha, where he was director of education at Beth El Synagogue. In 1972, Molad was recruited as director of education at Congregation Shearith Israel, and Dallas became home.

The spark soon spread throughout the community as he prompted the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas to create a summer trip to Israel for students from throughout the Metroplex. For 15 years, Molad led the teen tour, with an itinerary and curriculum he created.

“Six weeks to learn what it is to be a Jew, to really know Israel and to bring that back home and never let go,” said Molad. 

“Teen Tour, because of Jack and Helaine, was life-changing. It was fun, educational, spiritual and it affirmed our Jewish connections,” said Laurie Judson, a Teen Tour ’77 participant. “When I hear birkat hamazon, my heart still flutters to the memory and I’m again thankful for my meal, but also for that ‘moment’ of my life. Then, and now, Jack always brought the best.”

With the founding of Congregation Anshai Torah, Molad became director of education, a role he held until “retiring” in 2004. Still teaching in CAT’s religious school, and tutoring b’nai mitzvah students, it’s the one-to-one that provides his greatest joy, and for children, a lifetime gift. 

“Jack infuses his students with his Jewish passion,” said Congregation Anshai Torah’s Rabbi Michael Kushnick. “Children are excited to learn and, because of their special relationship, they go above and beyond what is asked. He’s inspired thousands and our People are better because of his incredible work.”

As his Dallas-born grandchildren have made aliyah, Molad is watching his family grow and his family tree’s next branches rooting in Israel. Realizing his past is his family’s future, is almost indescribable. 

“To talk to my great-grandchildren in Hebrew, my language and theirs, is magic,” said Papa Jack, who turned 90 on Feb. 20, crediting his health and longevity to an active life. He is a former diver, swimmer, soccer and basketball player and still avid tennis player. “My land is their land.

“I’ve taught thousands of others’ children to love Israel, my family making it their own,” said Molad, his eyes smiling, as they always do, brighter than any sunbeam. “That is shalom, that is peace.”

To register (tickets, sponsorship and tribute opportunities available) visit tinyurl.com/CAT-JackMolad or call 972-473-7718. To submit photos, memories or blessings, email JackMolad2020@gmail.com.

— Submitted by

Deb Silverthorn

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