J Meals volunteer, Kate Daniel, was chosen by the Ad Council to help launch a national campaign in Washington D.C. this summer. Right out of the University of Hou
ston, 23 year old Kate came to Evelyn Rubenstein JCC as an intern with J Meals and quickly moved into a part time staff position. Her enthusiasm and passion landed her in this great role to serve her community. Kate shared her experience with us in her words...
Stars of David Comes Full Circle at Houston’s Evelyn Rubenstein JCC
Author Abigail Pogrebin and the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC of Houston have a long-standing relationship; one that comes full circle this month as the new musical revue, Stars of David: Story to Song, takes the stage at the J’s Kaplan Theatre. The musical is based on the best-selling book, Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk about Being Jewish, the publication of which brought Ms. Pogrebin to the J in 2005 for a speaking appearance at the Jewish Book & Arts Fair that year.
Now, over a decade later...
J Ride started in mid-May and has been up and running for over 45 weeks now. Last week marked a milestone as we have now provided over 1,000 rides. These rides are a lifeline for many members of our community. The J Ride service gets them to medical and personal care appointments, as well as to the grocery store. Because of J Ride, seniors and special needs adults in our community can feel a greater sense of independence as they don’t need to rely on a family member or friend to take them everywhere.
Twice a week a J Ride driver picks up Faith and Louis Marshall to take Mr. Marshall to his dialysis appointment. Prior to using J Ride, the Marshall’s did not have a dependable ride. “The J Ride service has made all the difference in our lives. The J Ride drivers are wonderful, kind, and considerate. I can’t say enough about the drivers,” says Faith Marshall.
The Marshall’s story is one of 83 stories...
Arts & Culture Program Coordinator Amy Rahmani recently sat down with Arts+Culture Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Nancy Wozny to talk about our upcoming Houston Jewish Film Festival. Arts+Culture is a free periodical for the community with a focus on the contemporary visual and performing arts and how it affects life and lives in Texas. A+C magazine features articles, interviews, and reviews on gallery and museum shows, theater productions, people in the arts, classical music, contemporary dance, opera and books.
Check out the trailer to this year's Houston Jewish Film Festival:
The following is an excerpt from Arts+Culture Magazine's article, written by Editor-in-Chief, Nancy Wozny. For the full article from Arts+Culture, click here.
What Kind of Jew Are You?
When I was a hospital chaplain, a patient once asked me, “what kind of Jew are you?” I responded, “hopefully one who is compassionate, kind, and caring.” He responded, “no, no, no that isn’t what I meant…Reform, Orthodox, or what?” He needed to understand my religious values and thought that affiliation would give him the information that he was seeking. But, the truth is that even though I am a JTS ordained “Conservative” rabbi I have never really had an answer to this question. In my family we have a deliberate and thoughtful Shabbat practice, which is informed by halacha (Jewish law), family values, and spirituality but is not solely dictated by Jewish law. We observe kashrut (Jewish dietary laws), but eat out vegetarian in restaurants and have meat-heckshered and dairy non-heckshered dishes in our home. I work at the J, belong to a Conservative synagogue, and send my kids to Reform day school and religious school. I often feel there is no single space for me in organized Jewish life. At the same time, I believe we are forging a path that will keep our family Jewishly connected and fulfilled for the long-term. Then it dawned on me...
The following blog post gives the view and opinions of its author, Rabbi Jill Levy, and does not represent an official opinion or position of the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC of Houston, nor does it necessarily reflect the opinion and views of any member, employee or board member of the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC of Houston. The purpose of this blog, and specifically this post, is to present how Jewish texts can enlighten contemporary issues. We do not expect that everyone will draw the same conclusions. As Rabbi Ishmael teaches in the Talmud, “A Biblical verse is like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces... just as the rock is split into many splinters, so also may one biblical verse convey many teachings.” (BT Sanhedrin 34a). We hope you’ll share your thoughts and opinions with others in the comments section below.
Anyone who causes one life to be lost from Israel, it is as if they have destroyed the entire world. Anyone who saves one life from Israel, it is as if they have preserved an entire world. – Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 37a.
If gun ownership can save even one life then shouldn’t we support this practice? So far, in 2015, there have been 687 defensive gun uses. After all, the Talmud teaches that everyone has the right to self-defense. It states, “If someone comes to kill you, act first and kill him.” (Brachot 62b)
At the same time, there have also been 1071 accidental shootings, 1840 children ages 0-17 killed/injured, 7439 deaths and 14,781 injuries this year. Ratios typically range around one justifiable shooting for every 32 murders, suicides or accidental deaths annually. You can read about victim stories here from the bradycampaign.org.
As Jews, we have a tradition that cares deeply about the importance of human life, and as Americans we have a public safety issue that we cannot ignore. The United States currently leads the world in firearm ownership and firearm-related deaths, averaging 88 guns per 100 people and 82 deaths each day due to gun violence, including eight children under the age of 18.
We all want to be safe and secure in our own homes and outside. The question becomes what is the best way to achieve that security and should guns play a role?
There are a number of texts that we can draw on from Jewish tradition that speak to this issue. I am presenting the following three texts that guide my beliefs:
My summer camp challenge this year: To teach every camper, in every camp, the same dance, and come together to perform it.
You may not see this as a major challenge, but with seven different camps, at least eight camp directors, numerous counselors and hundreds of children, there are a number of different people and personalities at play. While this may still seem like a simple task, I can assure you, it is not...
There are hundreds of families and children who were affected by the flood and need support for school supplies for the coming school year. Needs range from backpacks and uniforms to general notebooks, pencils, binders, folders, etc.
Anyone who is interested in donating items can take the items to UOS starting now through this weekend.
- composition books
- binders and loose leaf paper
- pencil holders
- general school supplies
Please consider supporting this effort if you are able. For questions, please contact Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.