What it means to be a Jew in Dallas in this day and age, honestly, I can tell you that I love it. It’s the best thing in the world. My parents are great and I have a great brother and wonderful grandparents in Dallas and that’s pretty much all a kid could ask for. My father grew up in Dallas and my mother lived in Dallas for a short period of time and, in that period of time actually, they were in school together.
Now, one thing I can tell you is that America is great. My great grandmother was a holocaust survivor, and I can say this country should not be taken for granted. With all the peace in this country and all the good people living here, and in Dallas specifically, I can say that I feel really lucky.
Now, what it actually feels like to live in Dallas, I just love it. My favorite part of the week is definitely Shabbos. I love Shabbos, it’s so great. Friday nights when my father and I go to shul, we have so many good options. We live in the north eruv and live within less than a mile walking distance of three shuls. And, when we get back from shul, I just love smelling the smell of my mother’s home cooked Shabbos food and just savoring the moments after I’ve eaten and I’m full and I’m lying on the couch relaxing. My favorite part of Shabbos is on Shabbos afternoon when Shabbos is almost over and my family plays board games. Really special moments happen right there. I love family time. Sometimes I spend Shabbos at my grandparent’s house. They live in the south eruv. I like the south eruv because everybody there is so nice and welcoming and friendly and kind and you just feel part of the community. I also love the Jewish holidays when my other grandparents and my extended family comes to visit Dallas. They love coming to visit Dallas because Dallas is such a great city and the holidays are so nice here. Me, personally, I just like the Dallas lifestyle and that’s why when I grow up, I plan to live in Dallas.
For college, I’d like to go to MIT and get a master’s degree in both mechanical and chemical engineering. My goal is to be an engineer. I’d like to be the kind of engineer that will be hands on and get my hands dirty and actually creates things. To achieve that goal, you need to start young. I read up on a lot of things and I also have a notebook where I write down my engineering ideas. I’m not sure where I’m going to go to high school yet, but my parents are already thinking about it.
Dallas doesn’t really have many kosher restaurants compared to other cities, but there is excellent produce and unique food products here that make up for it. A few of my favorite food stores are Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Natural Grocers. Trader Joe’s is by far my favorite though, it holds most of the ingredients that my mom uses for Shabbos, it even has kosher meat and chicken, and really fresh organic fruits and vegetables. What I like about Whole Foods is that there are a lot of unique foods to buy, such as tamarinds, starfruit, and tiger figs. What I like about Natural Grocers is that the food there is fresh and natural. You can hand pick most of the stuff that you buy and there is a lot of organic food there.
My favorite places to go in Dallas are Klyde Warren Park, the Dallas Zoo, and the Dallas Farmer’s Market. My suggestion is that you go to Klyde Warren Park, then after that go straight to the Farmer’s Market and get a cold drink and get the best local fruits and vegetables you’ll ever have. My favorite thing to do that I look forward to every year is the Dallas Kosher Chili Cookoff. The Chili Cookoff is when many of the Jewish organizations in Dallas come together and compete for who makes the best chili.
My hobbies are related to the fact that I want to go to MIT. I love taking things apart, for example broken cell phones, computers, tablets, fans etc., and I also like building things. In Dallas, you can have many hobbies. I do jiu jitsu and muay thai during the week and I take tennis and piano lessons on Sundays.
For my Bar Mitzvah, I want to celebrate it in Israel with all of my family. I love Dallas, but being Jewish means that I always feel connected to Israel and I have a special place in my heart for it.
Yishai Margolies is 10 years old and is entering the sixth grade. He was born in Maryland, but moved to Dallas when he was two years old and has lived in Dallas ever since.