Category Archives

6 Articles
The Dauber Family

The Dauber Family

Having come to Adat Chaverim about 5 years ago, the Dauber family has made their personal impact on our congregation.

A strong family unit of 5 – Debbie, Ken, Max, Eve and Seth – they together and individually acclimated quickly into the bustle of Adat Chaverim life.
Debbie has served as member of the Board of Trustees and as a member of the Religious School Committee. Ken is involved with Brotherhood and is currently Vice President.
Max and Eve have chosen to continue their religious education at Adat Chaverim. Both are part of the Macharnik program. They both like working closely with our teachers and the children to whom they are assigned. Seth, now in 7th grade, looks forward to his Bar Mitzvah next June. Not only are they all busy with Adat Chaverim, they are involved in sports programs, Boy Scouts, high school band and other school programs that round out their outside personal commitments (Oh, yes, GO LONGHORNS!)

For Debbie and Ken, joining Adat Chaverim balanced their personal commitments to Judaism. Debbie grew up in a Reform Jewish household that was not involved but, as an adult, it was important for her to become a Bat Mitzvah. Ken, on the other hand, has a strong Conservative background. After attending both Reform and Conservative synagogues in the area, both felt Adat Chaverim struck the right balance for them. They like the people and they feel it is a good community for their family. They enjoy the feel of the religious services. “The transition wasn’t easy,” said Max, “but I had friends here.” He felt welcomed here when the family came to Adat Chaverim. Seth remarked, “Everyone was nice . . . (they) talked with me.” Ken feels that Adat Chaverim services has the mix they were looking for – a balance of English/Hebrew and the congregation is comfortable with that — “People know what to do,” he said. For Debbie, religion is important to the family because it teaches the right values to their kids. They wanted to be part of that kind of religious community. What their children think is important to Debbie and Ken. It is apparent that the core of this family is group decision-making. When asked what aspects of about Adat Chaverim they like, Eve noted that she likes several different things — in particular the teachers, the Macharnik program and the classes. Max took the opportunity to point out the he liked the method of teaching. He said, “We’re part of the synagogue and the community. We connect Jewishly.”

The discussion then turned to why a new building is so important. Ken’s feeling was that the current location in a shopping center doesn’t showcase the true congregation. He feels we need space; to show ourselves. We need to “stand alone” to do more programming that will attract more congregants. Debbie pointed out that we need a new building for space and that the northern (Collin County) community needs us. Seth remarked that, “It’s time to move. We need to bring in more people and friends.” Max felt the same way. “We need to draw more people in and expand greatly. Space defines who you are. . . mixing both old and new.” Turning to what connects Jewish people — food, Eve said that Adat Chaverim needs a bigger kitchen. “Judaism is about a lot of food.” She also pointed out that the kitchen makes the connection to the Social Hall which in turn makes the connection to the sanctuary. “Our Social Hall is the essence of Adat!”

All that being said, how does donating to the Capital Campaign fit into their thinking? Ken’s feeling is that our congregants have to buy into the whole step-up. “Everyone has to get into the game! We can’t think that the next person is going to get it done. We all have to be part of it.” “Everyone has to be a part of it (the giving)”, remarked Eve. Seth added, “It’s like building a (family) table. Everyone uses it forever.”

Debbie feels that convincing everyone to be a participant in building a permanent place for Adat Chaverim is difficult. Younger congregants and single parent families, who aren’t use to giving, need to be shown how important this campaign is to the congregation. A new “home” is where the congregation can grow with more young people and more young families who all contribute to the good of Adat Chaverim.

Can anyone doubt that this very involved family is in touch with our congregation and can “see” the future vision of Adat Chaverim?

The Game That Pays Out

The Game That Pays Out

Two years ago, during the passing and throwing of the mahjong tiles, Joanne DePalma had an idea. It was her feeling that the women who play their weekly game at Adat Chaverim should somehow and in someway contribute to the building of a future home for Adat Chaverim.

Her idea? To contribute a quarter from each player (both regular players and substitutes) when a “wall game” occurs. Great idea! The eight ladies in the regular game bought into this idea

So, what is a “wall game?” Seasoned mahjong players will know the answer to this question. For those who have not had the privilege of playing the game, mahjong requires that a set pattern and combination of tiles is needed to win a game. The patterns are dictated by an official card. The specific tiles of the patterns and combinations that is chosen by an individual player is played out with three other players by picking, passing or throwing tiles until someone completes the chosen pattern and calls “MahJong!” Players pick tiles from a “wall” which is setup in front of each player. As each play picks a tile the walls diminish. For many mahjong groups the winner of the hand is entitled to a small monetary payment – usually $.25 or more (depending on the complexity of the hand). And, then, the play begins again.

A “wall game” occurs when no one player “calls” for mahjong – has the correct tiles, in the correct pattern to win the “hand.” How often does this happen in an evening of games. According to player Susan Schniderman, not too often. “Maybe once or twice in an evening,” Barbara Schwartz chimed in with additional agreement from the group – who were busy playing out a hand.

So, starting after the High Holy Days of 2014, the Tuesday Evening Ladies Mahjong group decided they wanted to buy into the new synagogue. For two years – ending with the High Holy Days of 2016, each regular player and each substitute contributed a quarter when a “wall” game occurred.

And, it paid off. The group proudly presented a check for $500 to Terry Sigle, Chair of the Capital Campaign. Now, that’s a lot of quarters!

“We’re very proud (to contribute)” remarked Joann DePalma.

Thanks to:
Natala Assa, Joann DePalma, Donna Flushman, Lee Greenstein, Linda Kalman, Bobbie London, Susan Schniderman and Barbara Schwartz and the Mahjong substitutes – our ladies of the Tuesday Evening Mahjong Game

Gift Committee Revelations

Gift Committee Revelations

It’s been an interesting and inspiring adventure for me personally, meeting those I had the opportunity to meet during our Gifts Committee visits in homes and elsewhere.  Every meeting has been enjoyable, informative, friendly, AND motivating.  I have learned and gained a lot. I would like to share with you now some of my realizations:
Admittedly, it hasn’t been easy scheduling all the meetings that we have had thus far, and there are many still to do, but when we do actually get to sit down with each other, Wow!, do we have a committed and supportive membership!  Yes, there are issues noted with certain directions the congregation may be going in, or changes in the congregation’s culture that individuals have fretted with over time, but overall, this is one hugely, strongly determined congregation all looking (even expecting) to see the synagogue continue to grow and serve the needs of the membership and the local Jewish community.
That brings me to my next point–I am particularly inspired to hear so many individuals comment on the need of the congregation not to support just those needs of the current membership, but really on the opportunity this congregation has to serve the larger needs of the local (Collin County) Jewish population.  One of my personal interests/inspirations for the new building is to build a “home” not just for us, but for the many unaffiliated Jews that live nearby to have and use as they need.  I am strongly encouraged by how many share that same sentiment.
Another really significant inspiration for me has been the value ascribed to the Religious School (as has been said many times in many ways), but particularly because it gives Jewish parents a way to show the strength of their ongoing commitment to Judaism long past the “expected” days of Hebrew and Sunday school learning leading to bar or bat mitzvah.  As a result, I am more inspired now than ever that we have a very healthy membership of families who come to Adat Chaverim with an active and innate sense of Judaism at their core.  I ask myself then–how can I not work more to support this?!
To the above point, one particular quote from an individual I met with has stuck with me and seems to apply broadly here–“get to my heart, get to my kids”.  What we do for the youth in the synagogue cannot be underestimated (this is probably what you would all expect to hear and agree with, right?).  But the impressions I come away with from listening to the real value congregant families get from all youth directed activities is truly amazing. 
We MUST continue this level of effort and commitment, we cannot let this drop in any measure, to any degree!
No matter what, once we actually get to talk with individuals, every person wants to help Adat Chaverim move forward–whether they can afford to or not.  People are making the effort to do something–anything within their means, or even stretching it some if they can. Not a single person I have spoken with personally has told me “no, I have no interest”!  There are indeed a few situations for individuals where they cannot do anything at this time, but even those have said they will consider giving something at some point in the future when the time is right or better for them.
It’s been a lot of work for a lot of people to get us to where we are today.  Personally, I am inspired to do what I can for this congregation and this new home, which in turn drives my commitment to work on the Gifts Committee.  As hard as it might seem at times, thank you all for making this a very pleasurable and rewarding experience overall.

L’shalom,
Howard Flushman

Ina & Joel DeLage

Ina & Joel DeLage

For the twenty-five years that Ina and Joel DeLage have made their home in Plano, twenty of those years involved Adat Chaverim. The DeLages have the distinction of being one of our Temple’s Founding Families.
For Ina, who grew up in a Conservative synagogue in Chicago, religion is important: her emphasis has been on the traditions of Judaism.
Joel (also from Chicago and has known Ina since they were very young) grew up in a Jewish household, but was not affiliated with a synagogue.

He welcomed the strong religious background with Ina’s family. It is important to him that Ina is happy, and because he describes himself as being shy, knowing the people in the congregation is important. He speaks of a time after a very serious illness when he was overwhelmed at the greeting he got from everyone in the congregation that evening when he was able to return and attend services.
Their motivation for their involvement at Adat Chaverim speaks of many aspects, “a place to call our religious home,” and “ . . . need(ing) a temple in order to belong . . . just to be Jewish.” Ina has been involved with various Temple positions. One can say she is committed for the long haul. “Our heart is here!” says Ina — and Joel is right beside her.
Joel recalls that even moving from the small storefront to the current synagogue there was challenge to raising the money for renovations. “Of course,” he says, “the cost of renovating and building then wasn’t like what we are looking at now in purchasing land and building a synagogue.” He knows it may take a little doing to raise the necessary funds, but he believes it can be done. “. . . otherwise we’re just a little place,” he says. “We need to survive!”
Both Ina and Joel agreed that what makes Adat Chaverim really special is the friendly atmosphere that never seems to waiver. Asked if a new synagogue with hopefully a growing congregation will impact on that “chavurah spirit,” Joel says:

“There is a culture in this congregation of its friendliness; and, that culture becomes the personality of the congregation.”

The Ring

The Ring

I have heard the most exciting news about my future!
I get to be a part of building a beautiful, new synagogue!  This is going to be a place where all are welcome to come together for worship and fellowship.  I can see people gathering with wide smiles for joyous celebrations and huddled together in support during dark days.

Like most, I have been through these kinds of things myself.  I remember the tears of joy in the eyes of a member of this congregation when she first saw me and was asked the question and I was slipped on her finger.  I sat proudly on that finger for 13 years through the good and bad times.

It was a terrible day for both of us when she slipped me off and stuck me in a box.  I was locked away in a bank vault and didn’t see her for a long time.
Four years later, my box was opened and there she was and I could see she had made it through the darkness and there was a peace in her eyes.

I heard about the wonderful people she had met and the second family she had formed that had helped to lift her up.   I realized that she probably would never have met this incredible community of friends if we had not parted ways.

When she told me her plan for my future, I was excited that I would be out in the open to shine once again, my many facets catching the light and creating all kinds of kaleidoscopes of rainbows.  The money from my sale will help to fund the new home for this community of friends.

Who knows, maybe I will be on a finger at the front of the beautiful, new sanctuary as two people start a new life together!

 

By Jill Jacobson

Why we support the Capital Campaign

Why we support the Capital Campaign

Looking Ahead to Next-Generation Needs

While flying Boeing 777s and 737s for American Airlines, First Officer Deborah Hecker is accustomed to keeping one eye on current conditions and another on the horizon. When it comes to helping Adat Chaverim create a new home of its own, she brings the same dual perspective: an appreciation of today’s realities and strengths, and a focus on longer-range opportunities. These qualities are reflected in Deborah’s active involvement in the Livnot campaign committee and in the Hecker/Vandenberg family’s investment in our Jewish community for generations to come. In a recent interview, Deborah shared what Adat Chaverim means to them and why it was so important to make this commitment.

What role does Adat Chaverim play in your family’s life?

It’s two-part: The first is the religious and spiritual – the place where we can go and raise our children in the Jewish faith. We want them to be involved long after their Bar Mitzvah. It’s important to us that they volunteer and enjoy temple life. The second aspect is social: We’ve also made very good friends along the way, people we see outside of temple.

 

We don’t have any family here, so the people we’ve become friends with have become an extension of our family. I’m active on multiple committees, through which I’ve met great people. Our children have formed wonderful connections. Being part of Adat Chaverim has opened up a lot of opportunities we never expected.

 

Why is it so important to have our own home?

We love where we are, but we need our own place. There are physical limitations at our temple on what we can do. When we design it for our own purposes, we can build it to accommodate what we need. For example, with a professional kitchen, we will be equipped for a lot more catering options. Even more important, Livnot is about building for the future, not just addressing present concerns. We need a new synagogue to go to the next level. This area’s really growing, and as members, we feel that it’s part of our duties and responsibilities not just to look at what’s good for us as an individual family, but what’s good for the next generation and the whole community.

 

What does this commitment mean to you as a family?

We feel that giving back is what’s important. You can’t just sit still in life. Life is about going forward and helping people. We try to impress that upon our children and set a good example for them. When you ride through life without helping other people, you’re missing three-quarters of what’s joyful – you’re just missing out. It’s what makes the world a much richer place. So participating in the Livnot campaign and investing in a new home for our congregation are an extension of what we’re already doing. But what makes it more special and exciting is that we will see the outcome.

 

The commitment over five years initially looked really big, but when we actually broke it down daily and weekly, it was completely doable for us. We just tightened up a little bit because we felt it was something that was truly needed, and we were happy to help. We think it’s our responsibility as members and as a community to support this endeavor. Even a little bit helps.

 

What prompted you to join Adat Chaverim?

We moved here in 2010 from Florida and joined shortly thereafter. We knew we had Bar Mitzvahs coming up and wanted to be in a Reform temple. Because my husband is not Jewish, we needed a congregation that would be welcoming to him and where he felt comfortable. Adat Chaverim was also so different from how I grew up in a large Jewish community that was very competitive. Here, just coming to services, even if you don’t know someone’s name, they’ll say hello and ask how you’re doing. And, my kids love sharing their successes under the chuppah at Friday night services. People here are just wonderful – it’s come as you are, do what you can. What’s also great is that people here are active and don’t wait for someone else to work hard. Everyone pitches in.

 

What have been the most meaningful experiences you’ve had as members?

Our son Harrison just had his Bar Mitzvah, so that’s top of mind. We worked with wonderful people – Rabbi Ben, Valerie, and his tutor – and were touched by the passion people have and the caring they show. There were so many compliments on the service and the warmth of our members from those who traveled to be part of our simcha. All my family said, “Wow – if we had a congregation like that, we would go more often!” We’re just so blessed to have that.

 

In addition to the luncheon on Saturday, we also hosted dinner at the temple on Friday night. It was easier for out-of-town guests; we wanted to support the synagogue; and Adat Chaverim is our home. We were very happy with how the Bar Mitzvah turned out.

by the The Hecker-Vandenberg Family