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Jewish CultureFest Receives Festival Grant

Friday, July 20, 2018
Posted by: Rabbi Samantha Safran

Jewish Culture FestMayor Sylvester Turner recently announced the first awardees of the new grant program Festival Grant via the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA). Sixteen festivals with venues across Houston were selected for funding totaling $145,475. 

We are proud to announce that the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC's Jewish CultureFest is one of the recipients of the 2018 Festival Grant. We thank the City of Houston and HAA for its support of this unique community event. 

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Category: CJLL

Supply Donations for Families at US-Mexico Border on World Refugee Day

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Posted by: Rabbi Samantha Safran, Director, Bobbi and Vic Samuels Center for Jewish Living & Learning

Make a DifferenceJewish tradition is deeply rooted in welcoming the stranger. Our Torah teaches: "You shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt (Exodus 23:9).”

June 20 is World Refugee Day, and the J is proud to be a part of our #HoustonStrong community, coming together to assist families seeking resources and comfort at detention centers in McAllen, Texas at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

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Category: CJLL

Shabbat Shalom from the J

Friday, September 15, 2017
Posted by: Jill Levy
Shabbat Shalom from the J The world is a very different place than it was a month ago. A month ago, the J did not have each department successfully running programs without a building. We did not have a free two-week day camp created in partnership with Greene Family Camp. Our entire staff and teachers, along with our Board and community members, never gathered for Shabbat in the Tennis Center where we shed tears of joy and sadness while ...
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Category: CJLL

Shabbat Message from the J

Friday, September 8, 2017
Posted by: Samantha Safran
Shabbat Shalom from the J It is difficult to describe to those outside of Houston what life is like here right now. Families displaced from their homes, the contents of a life piled up on countless front lawns, each day hazily blending into the next. These past two weeks have proven themselves beyond our wildest imagining, and we are utterly exhausted. Exhausted from tearing apart houses, from conversations with FEMA, from shuttling kids to ...
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Category: CJLL

Israeli Scouts: The Community Tzofim

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Posted by: Marketing

Don’t Miss The Tzofim

The Israeli Scouts are coming to the J. Join us for this authentic Israeli high-energy concert Monday, July 17 at 6:30 PM.  The Tzofim are a Zionist and national youth movement, whose mission is dedicated to promoting positive young leadership, Jewish identity and community building while having a whole lot of fun!

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Category: CJLL

Why I Didnít Kasher for Passover this Year

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Posted by: Rabbi Jill Levy

by Rabbi Jill Levy, Director of the The Bobbi and Vic Samuels Center for Jewish Living and Learning

Disclaimer: This is not a prescriptive post. I am not writing this to convince others to be like me.  I am sharing my process as a way to help people think through the big question – “What does it mean to live Jewishly”?

I should start off by admitting that to the general Jewish population my Passover practice still seems pretty “religious”.  We clean our house and cars, hide and burn our chametz. We do not eat out during the holiday week.  But this year, I did not kasher or change out my dishes and we bought and ate certain foods, that while free of chametz, did not contain Kosher for Passover certification.

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Category: CJLL

What Would Judah Macabee Do?

Monday, December 26, 2016
Posted by: Rabbi Jill Levy

Rabbi Israel Salanter stated: “Any rabbi whose congregation never considered firing him [her] is no rabbi. Any rabbi whose congregation does fire him [her] is no mensch.

This statement captures the essence of the debate – should rabbis become involved in politics? On one hand, if rabbis do not take a stand to lend a voice to contemporary issues, then are they really engaging in leadership? On the other hand, the rabbi’s role is to welcome members of the entire Jewish community, and how can one do that in a mench-like way if he or she isn’t able to address the needs of all of their constituents?

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Category: CJLL

Shabbatify: A Shabbat Experience at the J

Friday, March 25, 2016
Posted by: Marketing
“I took my twin daughters to the Shabbatify program at the JCC a couple of weeks ago, and we had such a great time! It’s important that my children associate Shabbat not just with spiritual reasons, but with time spent together with family members and plain good fun! Capture the Flag, chocolate mosaics and glow sticks will do the job! We look forward to more events.” -Melissa B. JOIN US FOR OUR NEXT EVENT Where can you run ...
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Purim. An Easy Holiday to Love

Friday, March 18, 2016
Posted by: Jill Levy
Purim is an easy holiday to love. Costumes, hamentaschen, and carnivals make it an accessible experience for kids, families, and Jews of all denominations to celebrate. In all of the joy and fun we often forget that the holiday leaves us with a disturbing reminder about human existence. The Book of (or Megillat) Ester teaches that the hatred of just one person can lead to the almost destruction of an entire people. Jewish tradition teaches, ...
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Category: CJLL

What Kind Of Jew Are You?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Posted by: Rabbi Jill Levy

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...

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