Mayor 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.
Jewish 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.
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!
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.
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?
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...