Brotherhood will present award Jan. 21
By Deb Silverthorn
Bob Weinfeld is always on the go, hither and yon, putting the word “shalom” into action. That’s what makes him the perfect honoree to receive the 2024 Temple Shalom Brotherhood Shalom Award. Dallas’ Jewish community “mayor” will be honored beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 21, at The Hall on Dragon.
“The Brotherhood has brought amazing friendships, relationships, social, religious and mitzvah opportunities over 60 years. This honor is so meaningful,” says Weinfeld, the 97-year-old founder of Temple Shalom’s Brotherhood. He was its third president; at the group’s founding, he was serving a five-year term on the board of directors.
The Shalom Award event, chaired by Mark Fishkind with Honorary Chairs Melissa and Baer Ackerman, Brenda and Ron Bliss, Stephanie and Michael Hirsh, Carol and Mark Kreditor, Eileen and David Lynn, and Suzy Beliak and Brian Strull, will benefit Community Homes for Adults, Inc.; Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas; and Temple Shalom Brotherhood’s charities and scholarships.
“Bob is everything to all of us. In the ‘sweet 16’ year of the Shalom Award, we couldn’t imagine a sweeter or more appropriate recipient,” said Fishkind. “I had the pleasure of chairing a celebration for Bob’s 75th birthday. It’s exciting to honor him 22 years later.”
Weinfeld is a native of Pittsburgh. He was raised in New Rochelle, New York, the son of Dorothy and Ad and brother of Joanne, all of blessed memory. He married Jean Thalheimer, having dated her for only six months. After nearly 68 years the couple share daughters Melissa (Dr. Baer) Ackerman and Brenda (Ron) Bliss; grandchildren Emily (Eddie Gildenson) Ackerman Gildenson, Benjamin Ackerman and Dr. Ryan (Katie) Bliss, Alan and Brennen (Thomas Gerling) Bliss; and great-granddaughters Lainey and Maisy Bliss.
“We’re all proud of Bob. He’s been out there and done so much and we know we share him with the whole community,” said Jean. “Temple Shalom has been our second home for almost 60 years.”
In addition to founding the Temple Shalom Brotherhood, Weinfeld is also responsible — with Jack Borenstein, Murray London, Les Taub, the late Steve Chown and the late Seymour Kaplan — for the Shalom Softball League. Readying to start its 50th season, the league began with six teams and 72 players and now hosts a spring season of 20 teams with 240 players and a fall season of 16 teams and 192 players.
Weinfeld, who remains a captain of the league’s seven-time spring season champions, the Pirates, played for the team named on behalf of his hometown heroes until he was 71.
At Temple Shalom, Weinfeld’s commitment extended as chair of High Holiday planning, program chair for over 20 years and a member of the committee to raise funds for its chapel. He remains “usher emeritus” during the High Holidays. Through the Brotherhood, he was named Man of the Year four times as well as Man of the Decade, received a Lifetime Achievement Award and was added to the Hall of Fame; the Weinfeld Scholarship was created in his honor to support Religious School students. These accolades and many more are collected in dozens of meticulously self-crafted scrapbooks in his apartment at The Legacy Willow Bend.
Weinfeld has been a busy man throughout the community, known for his interview sessions of community members hosted at The Legacy Willow Bend and The Legacy Midtown Park. He has supported and served on committees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, Bnai Zion, Echad, Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas and the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. For his dedication to the JFGD annual campaign after winning the Campaigner of the Year award, that award now carries his name.
After four years in the U.S. Navy and graduating from Hobart College, Weinfeld began his career working as a traveling salesman for Van Raalte lingerie company.
Once he and his family made Dallas home, in 1964, he spent 48 years working at Equitable Life Insurance Company, where he was named to the Hall of Fame and, for 20 consecutive years, to its Million Dollar Round Table. Not one to “retire,” he then worked with the Borden-Hamman brokerage firm, continuing to write policies. He served on the Dallas Association of Life Underwriters, was president of both the Richardson Rotary and Richardson Lions clubs and was the Richardson March of Dimes chair for three years.
Weinfeld recently dressed up — as he has for more than 40 years — as Santa, to the surprise and merriment of children at various locations.
“The baseball-themed afternoon will honor the man so many of us, including me, have known and held as a role model for most of our lives,” said Fishkind. “Bob is loved and he is a mensch. That’s what we will celebrate.”
For more details or to RSVP, visit shalom24.givesmart.com.