J Blog

Houston Jewish Film Fest: Closing Weekend

Friday, March 21, 2014
Posted by: Amy Rahmani

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


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Category: Arts and Culture

Houston Jewish Film Festival Celebrates a Decade

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Posted by: Diane Lee, HJFF Committee Chairwoman

Houston Jewish Film FestivalThis 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.  


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Category: Arts and Culture

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


Houston National Invitational
January 31, 2014 - February 1, 2014

For more details on HNI or to purchase tickets go to

For more information on Houston Gymnastics Center at the ERJCC visit us at

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Category: Gymnastics

Foster Grandparents "Saved My Life"

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Posted by: Gayle Rockoff

“Before I was a Foster Grandparent I had a routine. I picked up my grandchildren from school, I cooked and I cleaned. That was my routine. Now, by volunteering in the Foster Grandparent program, I have a life! Last year I met with a young girl who told me she wanted to commit suicide. Her father was in prison, and she was having a really bad time. I saw her in the halls last week and stopped to talk with her...”

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Category: Community Programs

An Israeli Soldier, a Jordanian and a Syrian walk into a Halloween Party...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Posted by: Alon Nissan

As a 24 years old Israeli, Halloween seems like a pretty weird pagan holiday. A bit different from the Israeli - Jewish version of it - Purim. Maybe it’s the creepy decorated houses, maybe it’s the undead ghosts roaming the streets and maybe it’s the sugar rush from candy that makes it feel like real magic is in the air. 

This year, as a shaliach here in Houston, I got to witness Halloween for the second time. This time was unforgettable. Celebrating Halloween was, as expected, a cultural shock. Not a shock of American culture, but a shock to my own Israeli culture and life.

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Category: Israel

The Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Fair

Friday, October 25, 2013
Posted by: Jason Dobrolecki

The forty-first year of the Jewish Book & Arts Fair is right around the corner.  We have just a fantastic lineup of speakers, authors and performers. Not only do have a spectacular lineup of speakers, but we also have the honor of announcing the new name of the event, The Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Fair.

We kick off this years event with author and host of the popular National Public Radio game show “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!,” Peter Sagal. Peter Sagal is heard by more than three million people every week. His show is broadcast on 450 public radio stations nationwide and via a popular podcast. Sagal is also the host of PBS’s new series, Constitution USA with Peter Sagal. The show follows him as he travels across country—on a Harley Davison Road King—to find out where the Constitution lives, how it works, its history and its vital relevance today. Sagal will present his unique perspective on looking at the news of the day when he speaks on Why Satire is the Only Reasonable Response to the Times in Which We Live.

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Category: Arts and Culture

A Mom's First Hand Experience of ERJCC Summer Day Camp

Monday, October 21, 2013
Posted by: Jason Dobrolecki

At the ERJCC our goal every day is make memorable experiences and have a positive impact on our community, especially for the children in our programs, many of whom attend different schools, synagogues, churches, etc, We are the community hub where they can meet friends they wouldn't otherwise see. The program instructors and camp counselors are positive role models who strive to provide these experiences every day. 

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Category: J Camps

Houston Cougars Masters Coach Receives National Recognition

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Posted by: Jason Dobrolecki

In 2013 Greg Orphanides was awarded the Kerry O’Brien Coaching Award by U.S. Masters Swimming.  This award recognizes and thanks USMS coaches excel in the areas of building a foundation of a new club, reenergizing an existing club, mentoring a new club, create coaching education opportunities or successfully drive new events for USMS members such as meets, open water swims or clinics. 

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Category: ERJCC Blog

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