We’re surrounded by so many stinky things, on a regular day. And now, even more, for some of our unfortunate community members who were affected by the recent flooding and have been cleaning, scrubbing, and throwing stuff for weeks. But as I walked up to the J this morning and caught a whiff of something even before stepping into the building, I realized what we all could use this summer is a little aromatherapy at the J
It’s not what you think. It’s not some spritz the J is squirting outside to welcome its visitors and members. It’s not the sometimes far too heavy use of Norell perfume, a favorite of my late mother and so many other women of a certain age, many of whom are at the J every day to exercise, socialize, or just plain “hang out.” (Yes! Active adults like to just hang out!) And it’s not the enticing smells coming from Laykie’s kitchens, although they are intoxicating...
The last two days have been filled with donation drop offs and lots of supplies being provided to households in need in the community. The need is still great, and your community needs your help.
The J will continue as a drop off and pick up site for cleaning and packing supplies. We have the greatest need for boxes, gloves, masks, tarps and any cleaning supplies.
If you are interested in volunteering, or need volunteers in your home, the coordination of this will be handled by JFS. You can email JFS at email@example.com
Counseling and Crisis Management:
Counseling and crisis management will be coordinated by JFS and should call JFS directly at 713-667-9336.
Gift card donations can be sent to JFS, or dropped off at the J, and we will make sure they get to JFS.
This has certainly been a challenging week in our community as we respond to the devastation caused by the flooding. I wanted to share an update regarding the relief effort, the damage sustained at the J and plans for start of summer camp.
I know that you join me as part of a larger community to lend a helping hand and offer whatever assistance you can to families and friends in need. The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston and Jewish Family Service are coordinating relief support and the J is a drop-off site for the following items: bottled water, work gloves, plastic storage bins, heavy trash bags, heady duty razor blades to rip out carpet and cleaning supplies, including old towels. We are also collecting gift cards from home repair stores and grocery stores for our Bertha Alyce Early Childhood School families that have experienced loss. Additional information on ways to offer support can be found on the Jewish Federation website at www.houstonjewish.org/houstonflood.
Child Care Needs
I recognize that families may have...
The creation of an original cabaret performance has been a dream of mine for several years, and I am so happy and proud that on Wednesday, May 6, we previewed our two women show, “29, One More Time.”
“29, One More Time” is an irresistibly engaging cabaret theatre performance filled with songs and stories of youth, love, motherhood and the perils and triumphs of womanhood. I wrote and perform this joyful, original work along with Joanne Bonasso who also stars. It is directed by seasoned theatre veteran, Rebekah Dahl from the Music Box Theatre with musical direction by Mitch Pengra.
We created a cabaret that is filled with unique stories from our lives that are fun, exciting and highly relatable. “29, One More Time” is a play on the social norm of a woman’s need to stay forever young. As women, mothers and actresses, we relate and through our show examine another way to define ourselves, beyond the number of years we have lived on this earth. Audiences will be delighted by the music in the show, ranging from well-known classics like...
April 1, 2015. By Marilyn Hassid--
In a couple of weeks the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC is proudly hosting a remarkable play on our Kaplan Theatre Stage. Bad Jews, by Joshua Harmon, is a coproduction of Stages Repertory Theatre and Black Lab Theatre in cooperation with the J.
The play’s director, Jordan Jaffe, is the Artistic Director of Black Lab Theatre. Jaffe spent many years roaming the halls of the J as a child and was a JCC Maccabi Sports participant. He later discovered a love for theater while attending Rice University, and in 2013 was named to the Houston Press' Top 100 Creatives list of "movers and shakers" in the Houston arts community.
Bad Jews tells the story of three cousins: Daphna who has just returned from Israel, empowered by her journey; Liam who has fallen for an “American Girl” who is anything but Jewish; and Jonah (note the name!) who just doesn’t want to get involved. Their grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, has died, leaving behind his precious Chai necklace. Battle lines are drawn as these self-absorbed cousins clash over possession of this beloved family heirloom.
I had the privilege of sitting through the first read-through of the play and I promise you, it’s riveting, thought-provoking, and yes, disturbing and, at times funny. I just wanted to throttle these age 20-ish cousins! Don't get me wrong, they could very well be older and still be as self-absorbed. The play is so relatable that you feel a unique emotional connection to the characters.
In a few days, many of us will be sitting around Passover tables and looking to the youngest to ask the Four Questions. This year, I’m suggesting four more questions to be posed by the adults at the table as a lead up to the play:
- What does it mean to be a "Good Jew"?
- Do I consider myself a Jewish American or American Jew?
- Can interfaith marriages work?
- What is the most important Jewish value that you hope to pass on to your children?
Take these four additional questions to your seders and start a conversation. Let us know how the conversation goes by leaving some thoughts in the comments below.
Purchase tickets to Bad Jews online at erjcchouston.org/theatre.
See you at the theatre,
Check out this recent interview with Bad Jews Director, Jordan Jaffe:
A poorly kept secret is that we have a first class ceramics program and a very high quality, well equipped studio at the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC. This is not a paint-by-number program, but it is one where students of any level can learn to create their works of art from raw clay and bring them to completion. We have wonderful, up-to -date equipment, and we use first class materials. Instruction is led by professional ceramic artists. Our newest additions are new cabinets, new sink, new lighting, a double wedging table, a slab roller and a wall mounted clay extruder. Dozens of glazes and underglazes are available and are constantly replenished. An additional kiln is on the way as well.
Our dwindling program was kept alive for many years mostly by the untiring efforts of Judy Mellon and Marge Mayer. Now because of enthusiastic students, quality instructors and support and investment from the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC, the program is growing in popularity. The classes run two hours long, and unlike some other ceramic studios there is ample "studio time" for work to be perfected and completed to each student's full satisfaction. At this time we have a class for wheel instruction as well as a class for hand building. Class sizes are optimal now, but if future registration continues to increase, additional classes are possible.
You're welcome to visit and watch the artists at work. The classes are on Monday and Wednesday from 1:00 PM-3:00 PM. In addition to the class instruction the studio is available to students Monday-Friday. To learn more about the ceramic program and other art classes visit erjcchouston.org/art.
Hope to see you soon.
Member and Ceramics Student
Bobby Lapin, Evelyn Rubenstein JCC member and volunteer, recently recounted his experience with Houston Astro’s great, Craig Biggio. Bobby shared his story of how Biggio took the time to have a huge impact on his child’s life at a time that he needed most. Read the full story, “Biggio belongs in everybody’s hall of fame” here on chron.com.
My grandparents are the perfect couple --- and not in a cliché “still in love after all these years” Hallmark card sort of way, but in a really solid, loving and tender sort of way. Anyone who spends a little bit of time with them can see how much they admire each other. It’s in the way they look at each other and even more in the way they speak to and about each other. Together they have survived war, hunger, anti-Semitism, a Communist regime, persecution, immigration and illnesses, and still through it all there is no bickering. If they harbor any irritations towards each other, they are overshadowed by their deep love and mutual respect. I once asked my grandmother what their secret is. She told me that when they got married, they made a decision that there would be peace in their home and they have kept that promise to each other.
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.