Frost, Miller address AJCongress
Berg gets Torah of Tradition Award
by Tamara Stokes
Although he said he was no more privy than CNN to current information on Iraq, U.S. Rep. Martin Frost predicted a "good chance" for military action.
The Texas Democrat addressed an American Jewish Congress program on Sunday morning at Temple Emanu-El, where Rabbi Peter Berg received the group's Torah of Tradition Award in honor of his social justice achievements in Dallas. Mayor Laura Miller also made brief remarks at the meeting, which included the installation of new officers for AJCongress' Southwest region.
Frost encouraged those attending to support "our country and our allies because it is important to be united in that action." Frost said he has made a decision to stand by the president, and that his hope is the United States will "quickly strike with as little loss as possible."
The next challenge, he said, will be the aftermath of a war. "U.S. troops are being over-committed in Columbia, Korea and the Philippines," he said, noting, "it will be a time to see what we can do effectively with the manpower."
Assuring the audience that it was not his decision to recommend plastic sheeting and duct tape as a bioterrorism remedy, Frost said, "It is prudent to have a supply of water and food if something happens, a short-term supply of essential items."
He also suggested that every family have a security plan.
In her remarks, Miller related an anecdote to illustrate the importance of standing up for beliefs. Although her family is Jewish, her son attends the St. Mark's of Texas, as do a number of Jewish students. She recalled a priest telling the parents, "We're going to teach your sons good Christian values."
Miller asked him, "What values are you going to give my child who isn't Christian?" The priest was new and was taken aback by the question.
Miller says a few other Jewish parents quietly whispered to her, "Thank you so much." She told the audience, "If we all raise our hands, and shout instead of whisper, we all have an impact."
"You guys," the mayor told the AJCongress members, "stand up and say what you think."
Emanu-El's Senior Rabbi David E. Stern also discussed the need to speak out. He called Berg "a proud Jew who doesn't whisper, who raises his hand and speaks out, driven to justice and peace for all and a deep commitment to Jewish spirituality."
As he accepted the Torah Tradition Award, Berg quipped, "I've become my parents." Bruce and Judy Berg came in from Monmouth County, N.J., to be with their son as he received this award.
Judy Berg, noting she is very proud of her son, said he has been involved in social actions, such as Hands Across America, since his early teens.
There was also praise for immediate past president Barry Greenberg.
"You can tell the measure of a man by looking at how his children relate to him," said past president Mark Jacobs. "He has been kind, inspired and good."
Jacobs gave an example about Greenberg's attention to his children. "Even if he was speaking with a rabbi and his child interrupted the conversation, as children do, he didn't respond by telling the child to 'hush' or go away. Barry would say, 'Rabbi, wait just a moment. My child needs me.'"
This story was published in the DallasJewishWeek
on: Thursday, February 27, 2003