As your Evelyn Rubenstein JCC President and Chief Executive Officer, we would like to take this opportunity to share some important updates about the J as we look to the future.
Prior to Hurricane Harvey, we were engaged in a master planning process for the Levit campus which would have included significant renovations and updates to our 50-year-old building. Hurricane Harvey forced us to pause our planning and fundraising to focus on reconnecting the community to the J. We set about reengaging programs and completing post-Harvey renovations. The last of the renovations was completed in December, with the installation of the flood gates and wall in front of the Joe Weingarten Building to protect the J from future flood damage.
Throughout the months-long process, we - like many homeowners - found ourselves contemplating our future. We are pleased to announce that, at our February meeting, the Board of Trustees of the J voted by an overwhelming majority to proceed with plans to reinvest in the Levit campus. We also remain committed to expanding our off-site and outreach programs and opportunities for meaningful Jewish engagement across Houston.
An Evelyn Rubenstein JCC-sponsored program that provides companionship and support to isolated seniors is growing both its client and volunteer base thanks to a recent, sizable contribution from an anonymous donor through the Houston Jewish Community Foundation.
The donation allows the J’s Senior Companions Program (SCP) to expand, helping even more Houston-area seniors live with dignity and independence while also supporting volunteers’ sense of health and well-being. SCP is a national service program sponsored by the J that matches low-income older adult volunteers with senior clients looking for companionship. It also provides much needed and welcome assistance for family members who are caring for their aging parents.
Imagine a world without Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, or David O. Selznick’s film adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s, Gone with the Wind. While Hamlet and “Grapes” seem secure in the Pantheon of great drama, many are unaware of how close we came to not having the beloved classic film, Gone with the Wind – or at least the version we know today.
And it is the true story of how GWTW avoided landing on history’s trash heap that forms the basis for Ron Hutchinson’s hilarious madcap comedy, Moonlight and Magnolias, opening for a six-performance run on February 14 in the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center’s Joe Frank Theatre of the Arts. Opening on Valentine’s Day, this play is a Valentine in its own right – a love letter to Hollywood’s golden age, and the studio system that fueled its rise.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in our indoor pool aquatics survey. Through the survey we received plenty of wonderful feedback about what you like about the indoor pool and what you would like to see us improve. We have taken your feedback and have come up with a plan on how we are going to improve the indoor pool to provide you with a better experience.
We are happy to inform you of some of the things we will be changing and improving with the indoor pool over the next several months.
With New Director, Evelyn Rubenstein JCC’s West Houston Facility Sees Climbing Enrollment Amid New Programming
With a new director and an exciting offering of innovative programming in the works, the future is bright for the Ellen Boniuk Early Childhood School, the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center’s West Houston facility.
Rene Kariel, formerly Corporate Sponsorship Foundation and Community Relations Director at the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC, came on as director in August, and since then, enrollment has climbed. Kariel is looking forward to continued growth and strengthened partnerships with nearby congregations, including Congregation Or Ami, Temple Sinai and Chabad West Houston.
Do you feel overwhelmed by the choices at the grocery store? Do you feel like you need heathy recipes? Are you wondering which vegetables are the best for your diet and where you can get the freshest ones? Our Ethical Eating Co-op is a great option for you.
Through our partnership with Johnson’s Backyard Garden, you can eat organic, Texas-grown food and live out the Jewish values of shmirat ha guf, taking care of the body, and shomrei adamah, being guardians of the earth.
The month of December is always a busy and stressful time for everyone. With the sun setting earlier in the winter months, the days seem very short. "Not enough time" is the number one reason for people to either not start exercising or eliminate their regular workouts.
Keep in mind that research has proven regular exercise not only gives you energy throughout the day, but it also helps to reduce stress. Not to mention the fact that forming habits of regular exercise are difficult to create but easy to break.
As your Evelyn Rubenstein JCC President and your Chief Executive Officer, we would like to take this opportunity to share some important updates and insights about the current state of the J as we look to the future.
Fall 2016: Vision and Planning
In the fall of 2016, our Board of Trustees completed a visioning process which resulted in the creation of a master plan for the J. Elements of the plan included significant renovations and updates to our 50-year-old building and the approval of a capital campaign. From January to August 2017, J leadership embarked on a fundraising initiative which raised 50% of our goal. We were preparing to share these exciting plans with the community in September 2017.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
– Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King
The Torah teaches that all that existed prior to creation was ‘darkness on the face of the waters.’ (Genesis 1:2) God then says, “let there be light” and there was light. In this moment, we learn that it is words that drive out darkness and bring light into the world.
The holiday of Hanukkah is all about transforming the darkness into light. We do this in several ways. First, we are commanded to light candles at the darkest time of the year. In addition, we increase the amount of light each night of the holiday. Finally, we light in the most public of places possible, at the time darkness sets in, so that everyone can witness the light in the dark. But these traditions are not the end goal; they are meant to spark a commitment within us to bring more light into existence.
Our Fitness Center has it all coming up! Work it Out Wednesday with CW39 on Dec 5, an exclusive shopping night for J members at Lululemon in Highland Village on Dec 11, plus save the date for our Fitness Open House Sunday, January 13.