Meet the Women: Who is Melissa Weinfeld Ackerman?

Biennially, the Dallas Jewish Historical Society honors members of the Dallas community who embody philanthropy and humanitarianism with the Ann Loeb Sikora Humanitarian Award. This year’s honorees are four outstanding women who have dedicated their lives to others within the Jewish and general Dallas communities. Continue reading to learn about one of this year’s recipients.

Melissa Weinfeld Ackerman grew up in Dallas and is a graduate of UT-Austin (1979) with a degree in Marketing.  She worked as a buyer for the Horchow Collection and traveled the world looking for special items for the catalogs.  Melissa has been volunteering in the Dallas Jewish community for nearly 40 years, and credits Ann Loeb Sikora as being one of her earliest mentors.

Her parents, Jean and Bob Weinfeld, have always given their time generously as volunteers and set a wonderful example of giving back to the community.  Melissa has served on the Jewish Federation Board of Directors and has been active in several Divisions. Winner of both the Campaigner of the Year Award and the Bess Nathan Young Leadership Award from the Federation, she also served as a member of the UJA National Young Women’s Leadership Cabinet.

A past member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Community Center, Melissa has also chaired many committees and fundraisers, serving as a Vice Chair of the Maccabi Games in 2005 and as a Coordinator and Recruiter of Volunteers for the 2015 Games.  Melissa was on the Board of Directors of Temple Shalom and Jewish Family Service and is currently a member of the Special Needs Partnership Leadership Committee.  She has volunteered for many years in the JFS Food Pantry, for which she received the Volunteer Spotlight Award.  Melissa was actively involved in the JFS Hurricane Harvey relief effort and received the Harvey’s Hero Volunteer Award and the President’s Award for volunteer hours served.  For over a decade, Melissa has given her time and energy to CHAI (Community Homes for Adults, Inc.), currently serving as Vice President of their Board.

Recently, Melissa, and her husband Baer, were honored by Jewish Family Service with the 2018 Special Needs Partnership Honors Award for helping our community grow to be more inclusive and open to people of all abilities.  They are the proud parents of Emily (fiancé Eduardo Gildenson) and Benjamin.

Stay tuned for additional highlights of the honorees!
Click here to register for DJHS Sip & Savor 2019.
Click here to learn about Ann Loeb Sikora and why we honor her legacy.

From the Archive: Evelyn Sanger Badt’s Majolica Plate Set, c. 1924

Evelyn Sanger Badt was born in 1912 and died in 1995, at 82.

She was the daughter of Ike and Mabel Sanger and married Sig Badt. Her father was I. L. Sanger, Son of Lehman Sanger of the famed Sanger Bros. And, she wasn’t the only Evelyn of the Sanger empire. A different Evelyn Sanger, wife of Elihu Sanger, is referenced in They Came to Stay, “The Jews who Built Dallas,” and “Merchant Princes.”  However, Evelyn and Sig Badt were both prominent within Jewish Dallas, and Dallas at large. As Rose Biderman remarks, the Sangers are the closest thing Dallas ever had to royalty. Their homes, and those of their extended family, as well as their furnishings, and other belongings were luxurious and statement-making.

Evelyn and Sig’s set of Majolica plates, a wedding gift from Stanley Marcus, are no exception. “Majolica” refers to a style of ceramic wear that originated in Spain and Portugal in the 13th century. Its meaning has since evolved to include a broader range of decorative and functional pottery created in Italy during the Renaissance, in the Victorian era across Europe and the United Kingdom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The style generally includes a metal-based enamel glaze (traditionally lead and tin) with elaborate hand-painted designs or a layer of bright, iridescent glaze.

This particular style of “Majolica” follows the tradition of functional pottery with incised, or raised, designs and a layer of bright green, iridescent glaze. This producer is Wedgwood, which originated in the UK in the mid 1700s and began producing Majolica-style pottery around 1860. Wedgwood continued production of Majolica until 1940. With this knowledge, and additional information provided by the maker’s marks stamped on the bottom of the plates, we are able to date this particular set of Wedgwood Majolica to 1924 or 1925. Here’s how we were able to determine the date (see below for images of the plate’s reverse and the maker’s marks):

In the mid 1700s, the manufacturer stamped all pottery with individual type-set letters spelling out “Wedgwood,” which later evolved to a single stamp with the same text in a serif font. This style was used until 1929 when the stamp was updated, sans serif. “England” was added to the maker’s mark in 1891 and maintained until 1908 when “Made in England” was adopted and used in all production. So, immediately, we can identify the set of plates as: originating post-1908 and pre-1940.

Back tracking slightly, in 1860, Wedgwood also began adding a three-letter alphabetic code to identify the date of manufacture. In the original Wedgwood code, the first of the three letters identifies the month, while the last of the three letters identifies the year of manufacture. The middle letter was intended as a potter’s mark. The code changed in 1907, when the number 3 replaces the first letter of the code. In 1924, that number changes to a 4. There are charts available that identify the sequence of letters and their corresponding dates. The maker’s mark on this set of plates is 4PB. The “4” indicates that set dates to 1924 or later. The “B,” in one chart suggests 1924, and the other, 1925. Ultimately, by researching the history of Majolica and the manufacturer, we are able to date these plates within one calendar year. Not too shabby for a style of pottery that has evolved over centuries, or for a producer that has lasted over 250 years.

There are twelve plates in the set, which were gifted to Dallas Jewish Historical Society by descendants of Evelyn and Sig Badt as part of the Sanger-Badt Family Collection, donated by Joanne Groshardt. Each plate bears similar maker’s marks.

Jessica Schneider, M.A.
DJHS Archivist and Volunteer Director



We extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of William (Bill) Mexic z”l, who passed away on Monday, June 18th.  Bill was a long time friend of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society and we will miss him at our programs and events.  May his memory be for a blessing and may his family and friends be comforted among the other mourners of Zion & Jerusalem.

The 2017-2018 DJHS Annual Meeting & Lecture, featuring author & sports writer Charley Rosen

On Thursday, June 14th @ 7:00pm, the Dallas Jewish Historical Society was pleased to welcome Charley Rosen as the featured speaker for the 2017-2018 Annual Meeting of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society.  After the introduction and induction of new DJHS Board Members by our Vice President, Deborah Konigsberg; we heard a welcome and tribute from our Board President, Stuart Rosenfield; followed by an overview of the organization and the “Year-in-Review” by our Executive Director, Debra Polsky.  The evening culminated with a lively and engaging lecture by author and sports writer, Charley Rosen.

6’8″ Rosen, an American author and former basketball coach, who previously worked as an NBA analyst for, and whose work has appeared on and, is a native of the Bronx, and the author of over twenty-one sports books, including Sugar: Michael Ray Richardson, Eighties Excess, and the NBA (Nebraska, 2018), Crazy Basketball: A Life In and Out of Bounds (Nebraska, 2011) and The Chosen Game: A Jewish Basketball History. He has also coauthored two books with NBA coach Phil Jackson.

Mr. Rosen captivated us with the story of the origins of Basketball; covering the start and proliferation of the game,  what part Jews played along the way, and included many fascinating personal stories and behind-the-scenes looks at some of the most well-known names in the game.  Judging by the lively Q&A session afterwards, a good time was had by all.

Many thanks to everyone who attended the meeting.  You, along with our DJHS members, and our greater Dallas Jewish community, are the reason for the Dallas Jewish Historical Society.  We wouldn’t be here without your ongoing support.

Please take a moment to check out our 2017-2018 DJHS Annual Report for information about the organization and what we do, along with a recap of all the different programs offered throughout the year.

From the DJHS President – Join us for our Annual Meeting – June 14 at the JCC

Join us at our Annual Meeting on June 14, 7PM, downstairs at the JCC, as we celebrate our many successes this year, install our new board, and hear Andres Lecture Series Speaker author Mike Silver who will talk about his book “Stars in the Ring: Jewish Champions in the Golden Age of Boxing”.

We have several new board members who will be installed at the meeting. They include David Abrams, Fonda Arbetter, Ron Blumka, Ilene Breitbarth, Lori Goldberg, Scott Kaufman, Kace Phillips, and Sherri Shidlofsky. I look forward to work with them this year.

If you haven’t heard, the May 3 DJHS Ann Loeb Sikora Humanitarian Award Event honoring the Genecov family was a huge success. We had a capacity crowd of over 300 people, many of them Dallas Jewish leaders and contributors in their own right, come to honor the many contributions of Jeff Genecov, Julie Genecov Shrell, and David Genecov. Thanks again to the family for allowing us to honor you.

The new fiscal year starts July 1. We have another exciting year planned, so stay tuned to the website for details.

Stuart Rosenfield
President, Dallas Jewish Historical Society