Jewish Studies Initiative of North Texas Serenade at Sunset Chamber Music Concert

Sunday, April 28 in Dallas Texas, a chamber music concert featuring members of The Dallas Symphony Orchestra will be held to benefit the local nonprofit, Jewish Studies Initiative of N Texas. The public is invited; for details, visit

Online PR News – 23-April-2013 – Dallas Texas – Serenade at Sunset
On Sunday, April 28 at 7 pm, Atara and Danny Guttman will open their home to a celebration, a concert and a fundraiser for the local nonprofit, Jewish Studies Initiative of North Texas (JSI). The event, dubbed Serenade at Sunset, is the second annual concert organized by musicians and their friends to promote and raise funds for JSI. The organization’s Executive Director, Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger (a frequent contributor to TJP), will also be present and will offer a short devar torah.
How does a Jewish organization put together a chamber music concert? “I took a JSI class from Rabbi Joel Zeff—Fundamentals of Judaism, offered at the InTown Chabad; I enjoyed the class and learned a lot,” says David Sywak, who plays viola with the Dallas Symphony. “When Rabbi Zeff asked if I’d be willing to perform at a fundraiser, I was happy to help. I put together a group from my DSO connections: Anastasia Markina who plays piano, Jeffrey Hood on cello, and Aleksandr Snytkin, who plays violin. Among other pieces on the program, we’re excited to be able to offer Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G Minor—this will truly be a musical evening reminiscent of the concerts Mozart himself played in patrons’ homes.” Also featured is a unique treat for chamber music fans: The English Nightingale, from Jackob van Eyck’s late Renaissance collection, “The Recorder Pleasure Garden”, performed by Ilana Pomeranz. Among her many accomplishments, Ilana plays classical recorder; her teacher was the noted Israeli master, Ephraim Marcus (z-l).
It was Ilana who imagined the first concert fundraiser for JSI in 2012. She explains that the inspiration came from her devotion to Rabbi Schlesinger’s teaching; she resolved to do whatever she could to spread the word about him, saying ”I have been privileged to sit in classes with novices to Judaism alongside those who are learned; children alongside retirees—and the Rabbi managed to bring out the best in all of us. We have students in our classes from all the strands of Judaism; all are included in the Rabbi’s love of Torah.”
The Jewish Studies Initiative of North Texas offers classes and events in homes, synagogues and at the JCC; now some classes are available online through a partnership with the teaching website, Rabbi Schlesinger conceived of the organization as a way to offer challenging classes based on traditional Jewish texts to as wide an audience as possible. The organization charges a modest fee for its classes, and no one is ever turned away simply because they cannot pay; hence, there is always a need for fundraising.
“Rabbi Schlesinger has raised the level of Jewish learning in Dallas, there is no question about that,” states student, supporter, and president of the JSI board David Radunsky. “We are extremely fortunate to be able to learn from him in person. A recent glance at the statistics from our Facebook page shows that although the vast majority of readers are right here in North Texas, he has readers from 20 countries, translating his words of Torah into 14 languages.”
Sponsorships and tickets are available at several levels – for information, visit the JSI website at, or call Carole Ann Hoppenstein at 214-358-0625.