DJHS Board of Directors Spotlight: Michael B. Cohen

Dallas Jewish Historical Society is privileged to honor and recognize Michael B. Cohen, who has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2013!

Michael recalls, “In those days, experienced board members included Pauline Graivier, Elya Naxon, and Harriet Gross with Past Presidents Ginger Jacobs and Ruth Andres often in attendance. Stuart Rosenfield was wearing short pants at that time [he says in jest of his life-long friend who also a fledgling board member around that time and later became President of DJHS].

Michael is a native Dallasite and lawyer by trade. His memories and connections, attention to detail, and insight regarding the nuances of law have proved invaluable both for business operations and overall culture of the Board of Directors. Michael originally joined the board because he wanted to be a part of preserving the history of his community: “Although history is being made daily, the knowledge of our local rich Jewish heritage and the lessons from the past should give great pride for generations to come.”

In addition to reviewing legal documents for the agency, and participating on various committees over the years, Michael has participated in many programs and speaking engagements on behalf of DJHS – most recently he was part of panel discussing the notion of L’Dor V’Dor and ethical wills (available for viewing on djhs.org).

Upon reviewing his tenure with DJHS, Michael is most proud of the growth of our oral history project and our archival collections, recent fundraising events that have reached unprecedented heights in revenue growth, increased interest in our annual lecture series, and how the board has been shaped: “Jimmy Schwartz was a great president. Stuart built upon what Jimmy did and increased DJHS to a higher level; and Jeanette has built upon that to the highest level I have seen during my terms of being on the board.” He is also impressed by how DJHS was able to reach a new audience with our very successful Annual Meeting program featuring several local sportscasters – Michael notes that it was “an illustration of history being made in our time.”

In closing, Michael wants us all to know that, to him, DJHS means: “to know where you are going or where you want to go, it is best to know from you came – our roots. The fabric of our history grows daily and should be cherished.”

Testimonials from the Board:

We all know people who have dedicated their lives to helping others.  Michael Cohen is one of those people.

Michael has spent much of his adult life serving on boards, being a radio personality, volunteering his time, and he even became a professional helping those navigate the legal intricacies many of us face in our later years.

For the past decade, we have been fortunate to have Michael serve on our board. His wisdom, humor, and overall sense of caring helped us navigate many issues of the day, whether in a financial, legal, or programming capacity.  We were fortunate in that time to have Michael, as he was also busy serving on several other boards at the same time, but when we needed his advice or counsel, he was always there for us.

This is not surprising, as Michael learned from the master the importance of service. If you were in Dallas in the 1960s, 70s, and early 80s, you knew of Michael’s mom, Bess Cohen, who was just about everywhere on the Dallas Jewish Community service scene. Bess was on many boards and committees at the same time, just like Michael, and her impact on those organizations was felt for decades after she stepped down from those positions.

Michael, in your case, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.  Like your mom, your impact with not only our organization but other organizations will be felt for years.  Thank you for your decade of service to the DJHS, and we hope to see you at future events.

                                                                                                                                                –Stuart Rosenfield

 

 

 

DJHS Board of Directors Spotlight: Mitch Meyers

Dallas Jewish Historical Society is privileged to honor and recognize Mitch Meyers, currently a member-at-large on our Executive Board, who has been with us nearly six years!

He was originally approached by his dear friend and Past President of blessed memory, Jim Schwartz, and later asked by immediate Past President Stuart Rosenfield. Mitch felt compelled to participate in the preservation of Dallas Jewish History. When asked about his tenure, Mitch jests, “Like in the Godfather, every time I try to get out…they pull me back in.”

Since 2018, Mitch has conducted oral history interviews—specifically to commemorate an annual gathering, The Christmas Day Classic (and its participants), that is near and dear to his heart—volunteered at programs and events, planned many programs and events, and has been a voice of unique perspective. Mitch is particularly proud of “learning to work collaboratively with the DJHS Board, the Executive team, and helping to lead us into the future for the new leaders at DJHS.”

Some personal highlights for Mitch over the last several years include:

– Our program featuring Dallas raised sports journalists Laken Litman, Dani Sureck and Becca Genecov. These ladies were impressive and all are in the sports business from Dallas. As we mentioned at the program, we can’t wait to see where they are in five years.

– Our program with Brad Sham, voice of the Dallas Cowboys. Chuck Cooperstein, voice of the Dallas Mavericks, and Robert Steinfield, producer extraordinaire. Interviewed by Mark Elfenbien, radio host of The Ticket. A very lively night with audience participation. 

– Christmas Day Classic Movie – We held a virtual movie of the Christmas Day Classic movie during covid that brought a lot of people to the DJHS.

– The Life and Times of Jim Schwartz – A live concert event that showcased the life and times of Jim. The committee, including Suzy Schwartz and Rusty Cooper helped create a beautiful event showcasing Jim, his time with DJHS, and his many friends and family memories. 

The mission of DJHS resonates with Mitch on a personal level, as he notes: “It means to me, to help connect the present and future generations with Jewish Dallas through Oral history and programs. To help keep the past as a living legacy for our Dallas Jewish community. I’m hopeful that I have helped in some small, fun and entertaining way.”

Testimonials from the Board:

“It was a night I will always remember … and it was all because of Mitch Meyers!        

Mitch contacted me in 2022 to talk about an event he wanted to do honoring Jim’s contributions to the DJHS. He had a fabulous idea to somehow integrate Jim’s well-known passion for music along with remarks from people who knew Jim, bringing him to life both as a community servant and as a friend, family member, colleague and more. The result was fantastic; spirited, fun, inspirational… sold out/SRO! I am so grateful that Mitch made this happen AND that I had the opportunity to get to know this man whose reputation precedes him.  He is one of the nicest human beings I’ve known and had the opportunity to work with creatively, logistically and otherwise.  He is a GREAT asset to the DJHS and I am sure Jim is smiling, so pleased that Mitch has lent his talents to his (Jim’s ) favorite organization!” — Suzy Schwartz

Mitch kept our programming going during the pandemic. If not for him, DJHS would have been silent! He brought us two outstanding programs for our annual meetings that highlighted members from our Dallas Jewish community in the sports field. Mitch also had the passion and vision to organize a very special tribute to celebrate Jim Schwartz, OBM, filled with music, friends, and sweet memories that raised funds for the lecture series in Jim’s name. Mitch has served on our executive board for the past two years and has done numerous Oral History interviews. His wit, insight and leadership have brought so much to our organization. We appreciate him!”  — Jeanette Pincus

“Over the past 3 years, Mitch has executed new and innovative programs that have been both well received and well attended. These programs have significantly increased publicity for the DJHS and resulted in new DJHS memberships as well as a increased connectivity to a larger pool of people in the Dallas Jewish community.” – Stuart Rosenfield

DJHS Board of Directors Spotlight: Stuart Rosenfield

Dallas Jewish Historical Society is privileged to honor and recognize longtime board member and past President of DJHS, Stuart Rosenfield!

Stuart served as President of DJHS for six years after serving on the Executive Committee and general board for many years prior to that. Upon stepping down in 2022, Stuart has remained active on the board, spearheading more than one committee, and offering advice whenever needed.

Stuart has been a constant – a consistent masthead, a voice of reason, motivation, and support through many years of uncertainty and, this past year, immense transition – even after stepping down as President. He continues to support DJHS because the mission, the stories, the history of the organization and the history of this community are near and dear to his heart. Just as he is near and dear to ours.

Stuart joined the board in 2011 after being asked by a member of the nominating committee – “I felt it was important to preserve the history of Jewish Dallas,” he recalls.

On the success and exponential growth of the agency during his time, Stuart notes:

“Together with many great mentors and leaders, we transformed the DJHS from a little known agency into a much more recognized integral part of the Dallas Jewish Community.  We upgraded our technology to better serve our members, developed innovative programming to highlight/inform about Dallas Jewish History, and honored many great people who had an impact on not only the Dallas Jewish Community, but the entire Dallas area community as well.  Our board consists of a diverse group of Dallas leaders from multiple generations who share the same commitment and drive to preserve and promote our history.

A personal highlight for me has been the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing people over the years. Some of these people I’ve known since BBYO while others I’ve grown to know and admire through our mutual board work on the DJHS.

Jews have been a major part of Dallas’s growth and success for 150 years. The DJHS is the primary research resource and repository for the history of Jewish Dallas.  No other organization has the type of programming we offer, which includes guest speakers, authors, genealogy programs, archive preservation programs, digitally-preserved and accessible oral histories, as well as an archive (managed by a professional archivist) with over 15,000 artifacts.“

Testimonials from fellow board members:

  Stuart is one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever known. His written and oral skills are excellent as are his leadership abilities- he was an effective and wonderful DJHS President. We truly benefitted under his presidency. He also has a great wry sense of humor on top of it all! – Jo Reingold

How blessed we have been to have Stuart’s leadership over these many years. He has an uplifting perspective on how to work with others, how to work thoroughly and efficiently, and has the unsurpassed wisdom and vision for DJHS that is so close to his heart. He is such a pleasure, a terrific mentor and a true “mensch”! We are so proud to recognize Stuart for all he has done and who he is.  – Jeanette Pincus

Stuart, You are a tireless servant leader, devoting your life to service (after family). DJHS is indeed lucky to have had your leadership for so long! I’m out of town but am there in spirit! XO, Suzy Schwartz

Stuart, Thank you for your leadership for so many years, which has brought us to the great place that DJHS is now! Fondly, May Sebel

Alamo Street – Anshe Sphard/Primera Iglesia Bautista Historical Marker

Alamo Street Historical Marker

Dallas Mexican Historical League, Dallas Jewish Historical Society, and Primera Iglesia Bautista celebrated the installation and dedication of a new historical marker on Friday, November 3, 2023 (see slideshow above).

The Alamo Street State Historical Marker commemorates Congregation Anshe Sphard and Primera Iglesia Bautista, who together generated one of the early examples of multiculturalism in Dallas. Read below and follow the links to learn more about the unusual connection between the two congregations, and to watch the reception/dedication of the marker –including CBS 11 news coverage with reporter, Andrea Lucia.

Watch the marker reception here

Watch the marker dedication and official unveiling here

Watch the CBS 11 segment here

Read the original press release here

Learn more about the congregations here, as well as here.

Thank you to Juanita Nanez for being the guidepost of this project over the past several months and years, and to the officers and leadership of Dallas Mexican American Historical League and First Mexican Baptist Church for your partnership in this endeavor!  Thank you to Hector Rodriguez with Primera for acting as photographer and capturing the memories. Additional thanks to the following individuals who participated in the planning, design, storage, installation, and dedication of this Texas Historical Marker:

Jessica Schneider Adams, Jonathan Angulo, Ruben Arellano, Andrew Ayala, Palmer Bradshaw , Janeth Brambilla, Ricardo Brambilla, David Dixon, Priscilla Escobedo, Eddie Garcia, Elba Garcia, Alberto Gonzalez, Elizabeth Gunby, Carolyn Howard, Jesse Moreno, Carlos Munguia, Juanita Nañez, Debra Polsky , John Wiley Price, Melissa Prycer, David Preziosi, Paul Ridley, Hector Rodriguez Jaynie Schultz, Beri Schwitzer, Stacy Thornton, Frank Valtierra, Dorelia Valtierra, Rabbi Shira Wallach, Matt Weinstein, Trent Williams, Itzhak Zhrebker

Here is a video compiled by Hector Rodriguez of portions of the dedication, as well: 

DJHS Founder’s Records Come to Light

Recently, our archivist, Jessica Schneider, and our archives assistant, Corynthia Dorgan, collaborated to write an article for The Rambler, the newsletter of the Southern Jewish Historical Society. The article, “DJHS Founder’s Records Come to Light,” highlights the large, invaluable collection of Ginger Jacobs, a co-founder of DJHS. Follow the link to reach the article, along with several others contributed by our regional colleagues.

Rambler Spring 2021, Volume 25 Number 2