December is literally the darkest month of the year, with sunset starting just after 5:00PM each day. The celebration of Hanukkah, the festival of lights, which begins on December 16, 2014 stands in sharp contrast to the darkness of our winter months.
Hanukkah itself is not mentioned anywhere in the Torah so the earliest accounts of its celebration comes from the Talmud. The Talmud even asks Mai Hanukkah, or what is Hanukkah? The answer is “…Eight days of celebration on which mourning and fasting are prohibited. Because when the Hellenists entered the sanctuary, they defiled all the oil that was found there. When the Maccabees triumphed, they looked for oil to light the Eternal Flame, and only found one container with the seal of the high priest intact. The vial contained enough oil for only one day, but a miracle occurred, and they were able to keep it lit for eight days from that container...” (Shabbat 21b).
In September of 2012 I got what I thought was the worst news ever. My husband’s job was transferring him to a city I had barely heard of in "The South!" Yes, they were going to pack us up and drag me, and our then toddler, kicking and screaming (me louder than her) down to, of all places, Houston, TX! As a self-proclaimed city snob, I didn't even know there were big cities in the South, much less Jewish people. Everything I knew about Houston was based on stereotypes. I half expected to find cowboys riding horseback down Main Street. In a matter of months we packed up our comfy Chicago life, where we were surrounded by family and friends and headed to the wild, wild, west where we knew no one.
"Today I completed a challenge that I never thought possible. Today is Labor Day, Monday, Sept 1, 2014, and I competed in, and finished, my first triathlon."
-- Rabbi Jill Levy
This may not seem like such a huge accomplishment for those who are "fitness people," but I have never been particularly skilled in the sports and fitness department. However, there was something driving me to train for and to participate in this event. Since I work at the J, where we have an amazing fitness center, trainers and two pools, I knew I had the resources, I just had to use them.
After 12 weeks of training I received my race number and stood at the bank of the lake ready to enter the water at the start of the race. At that point, I asked two of my friends if they would say the shecheyanu blessing (Blessed are You, God, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season) with me, my way of praising and thanking God for the ability to reach this moment in my life. It was not until I was on the bike that I realized I had a choice. I could have said the blessing at the race finish instead of at the beginning.
In that moment, I realized...
It is with mixed emotions that we announce that J Morgan, Fitness and Aquatics Director, will be leaving the J as of September 24, 2014. J has been on staff for eighteen months and has done a great job in supervising the day to day operations of both fitness and aquatics. He has grown programming in both areas and provided a great deal of leadership to the staff. Born and raised in New Orleans, J’s family is all in New Orleans, and the desire to return home became very important to him. He will be assuming a similar position at the JCC in New Orleans. He will be missed very much, and I know that you all wish J nothing but the best. We are currently conducting a national search to fill the Fitness Director position.
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Morgan Fox as Aquatics Director. In June Morgan joined our staff as a swim coordinator at Kaleidoscope Camp and the coach for the swim team. Morgan has an extensive aquatics background as well as expertise in nutrition and health management. She is a great addition to our staff, and we are very fortunate to have her join our aquatics team. Congratulations and welcome to Morgan!
Sunday, August 25, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Join us with the family dog for some fun in the indoor pool. Before we close the indoor pool for maintenance on Mon, Aug 25, we're opening up the pool to you and your dog. Give your dog a chance to go wild in the pool at the J.
Ten years ago, Betsy Levinson thought it would be fun to join an aquatic exercise class at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center.
Little did she know she later would become the teacher.
Now, the 53-year-old fitness instructor leads several different classes five days a week, working with men and women from a wide variety of age groups.
This week we opened the “Panda Art Museum” at the Bertha Alyce Early Childhood Center. Dozens of parents, grandparents and classmates attended. The museum showcases famous artists who pique the interest of four year old children which include Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Marc Chagall, David Garibaldi and Vincent Van Gogh. The artists represent different styles of art, exposing the children to different materials, vocabulary, creativity and Jewish values.
The project began as an “empty canvas project” meaning each week the canvas came out and the children applied texture and color. The canvas evolved through the twelve weeks and inspired the children to inquire and want more. The children not only experienced painting, but also collage, sculpture and engraving.
This project involved...
The Houston Jewish Film Festival closes this weekend.
You do not want to miss this weekend’s films and activities. Saturday and Sunday are jam-packed with six screenings.
Saturday Night: Double Feature + Lounge
Make Saturday evening (March 22) a night out at the ERJCC. We will have two great films, light appetizers, dessert and drinks - all in one place. The first film, Hunting Elephants, will bring a few laughs and the second film will leave you on the edge of your seat. Come for one or both films and then join us in between films in the Lounge located in the Joe Frank Theatre of the Arts.
We will be mixing up cocktails, s’mores and other lite bites. The Lounge will be open from 7:30-8:30 pm and is the perfect place to relax between films, schmooze with friends and continue discussing the festival’s films. Food and beverages are complimentary, and we are offering a discounted price for both films. Where else can you get a complete night out for $12 per person? ($15 for non-members)
6:00 PM Hunting Elephants | 8:30 PM The Attack
Sunday: Something for Everyone
Sunday is closing day, and we have a wide variety of films for your viewing pleasure. So many great films on Sunday, it will be hard to decide…so don’t. Laykie’s Gourmet Café will be open from 11:00 AM to 7:30 PM so you can stay nourished in between films.
11:00 AM An American Tail | 1:00 PM The Jester
4:00 PM Glickman | 7:30 PM The ZigZag Kid
This year's Houston Jewish Film Festival kicked off on Saturday, March 8 complete with a red carpet, popcorn, champagne and a toast to the previous chairs of the festival, and is celebrating its 10 year anniversary. This year’s festival features 28 films shown over 16 days.
The Houston Jewish Film Festival opened to a sell out audience. The Festival opened with Bethlehem, a powerful story about an Israeli secret service agent and his Palestinian teenage informant. The film opened in Los Angeles and New York last week. However, the Houston Jewish Film Festival provided the only currently scheduled showing of the film.
For the past 18 years, hundreds of the world’s top gymnasts have come to Houston as part of the ERJCC Houston Gymnastics Center’s Houston National Invitational. This year the meet will be run in conjunction with the All Academy Collegiate Championships, bringing in even more top gymnasts – including one of the Houston Jewish community’s own.
Naval Academy junior Joshua Steves will return to Houston to help lead his gymnastics team against the other academies at Reliant Arena on Feb. 1.
“It will be my first time coming back to Houston to compete,” Steves said. “It is going to be awesome. I will get to see my old coaches and friends that I competed with for years.”
Steves, who began on the gym floor at the JCC when he was 6, has won gymnastics honors nationally and internationally in Israel.
HNI director Tim Erwin, who will oversee more than 3,200 athletes, 500 coaches and 10,000 spectators at the three-day meet running Jan. 31-Feb. 2, could not be more proud to have Steves be a part of the weekend. “It seems like yesterday he was this little talented kid enjoying gymnastics in our gym,” Erwin said. “I always knew that he would accomplish great things. It doesn’t surprise me one bit.”
Steves, who graduated from St. John’s High School, would work out at the JCC six days a week, for three to four hours a day.
“The JCC played a huge part in who I am and how I got here,” Steves said. “The JCC gym was like a second home to me – that’s where I spent a huge amount of time…”
Read the Full Story Here from jhvonline.com
Houston National Invitational
January 31, 2014 - February 1, 2014
For more details on HNI or to purchase tickets go to hnimeet.org
For more information on Houston Gymnastics Center at the ERJCC visit us at erjcchouston.org/gymnastics