Shearith Israel to honor TJP publisher at Torah Fund dinner May 9
Sharon Wisch-Ray

The Torah Fund season will come to a close May 9, when Congregation Shearith Israel honors TJP Publisher and Editor Sharon Wisch-Ray. The celebration will be held at the synagogue, 9401 Douglas Ave., and begins at 6:30 p.m.

The Torah Fund Campaign of Women’s League for Conservative Judaism helps support programs and student scholarships at Jewish Theological Seminary (New York City), Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies (Los Angeles), Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies (Jerusalem), Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and Zacharias Frankel College (Potsdam, Germany).This year’s theme is Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Ba’Zeh, which translates to “all of Israel is responsible for one another.”

Sharon was born and raised in Fort Worth, the youngest of five children. Her parents, Rene and Jimmy Wisch, started the TJP in 1947. While they were working at the Texas Jewish Post plant, they brought their daughter with them, allowing early on-the-job training. She is a talented writer and photographer and is deeply committed to Judaism, the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

Sharon is a graduate of Washington University and earned a master’s degree in social work from The University of Texas at Arlington. While pursuing her Ph.D., Sharon taught social work classes at UTA to undergraduate and graduate students. Sharon was working on her dissertation in 2002 when her father passed away. She pivoted and began working full-time at the paper immediately to help her almost-80-year-old mother. The rest, as they say, is history. Rene passed away in 2010 and Sharon assumed the role of TJP publisher.

“Everything I know about journalism and running a newspaper, I learned from my parents,” she says. “I wasn’t professionally trained as a journalist, but I do use my social work skills every day at the TJP.”

She explained that one of the basic tenets of social work is community building and she sees that as an important part of what the TJP does week in and week out.

“My parents were firm believers in a strong Jewish education. They would have been happy that the Torah Fund supports scholarships for rabbinical, cantorial and Jewish educators.”

Sharon married Alex Ray, a Dallas native and proud fifth-generation Texan, in 1990. They are the parents of three sons: Benjamin, 28; Sam, 23; and Jimmy, 19. As her sons grew up, she balanced the demands of a family business at work and family obligations at home. Now she and Alex are empty-nesters. Benjamin is vice president of commercial lending at Texas Gulf Bank in Houston; Sam, who recently graduated from the University of Georgia, is a real estate investment analyst and broker with Northmarq in Chicago; and Jimmy is a sophomore at the University of Georgia. On April 6, Sharon and Alex welcomed their first daughter-in-law, Ashley, when she married Benjamin.

When she’s not working, Sharon enjoys spending time with the family pets: Kirby, a shizu-poodle mix; Pudge, a black lab; and Reggie, a great Pyrenees mix. She is an avid pickleball player and enjoys mah jongg as well. She and her trio of sons are Cowboys, Mavericks, Stars and Rangers fans. They enjoyed attending as many baseball games as possible when the boys were growing up. In 2009, Sharon marked an item off her bucket list when she threw out the first pitch at a Rangers game during Jewish Heritage Day at the Ballpark in Arlington.

Sharon has been an active volunteer in the Dallas Jewish community, serving on a number of boards, including Ann and Nate Levine Academy, Congregation Shearith Israel, the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and the advisory board of the Jewish and Israel Studies Program at The University of North Texas. She continues to serve on the Israel and Overseas Committee of the Federation. In the greater community she was a member of the DalRich Chapter of Young Men’s Service League for 11 years and served on its executive board.

Shearith Israel Sisterhood is proud to honor this woman who has done so much for the Jewish community in the greater Dallas area. To join the Shearith Israel community at the Torah Fund dinner, visit https://tinyurl.com/bdcs6j2e by April 28. Couvert is $54 plus a minimum donation to the Torah Fund of $18.

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