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The Jewish Herald-Voice newspaper is the only recognized source of Jewish news in Houston, Texas, the Houston area and along the Texas Gulf Coast, in print and online. Distinguished as being the oldest (since 1908) Jewish newspaper in the Southwest.
Updated: 45 min 2 sec ago

Birthright Israel trip forges bonds among Texas participants

3 hours 26 min ago
Jewish young adults from Houston and across the state returned from the 2017 Texas Community Birthright Israel trip, an Israel experience for participants ages 22-26. Seven Israelis joined the 40 participants for five days of their travels, enhancing the authentic nature of the Israel experience. Since 1999, the Birthright Israel program has taken more than 500,000 Jewish young adults worldwide on free 10-day trips to Israel. From June 12-22, this year's Texas community group experienced the gift of Birthright while connecting with their Jewish identity and heritage, exploring Israeli culture and deepening their bond with the land of Israel. "A Masada sunset, an indescribable love for shakshuka and a 'Hava Nagila'-singing kibbutz experience later, I reconnected with my Jewish identity," said Kian Azimpoor of Houston. "Forty-seven new friends turned into one Israeli family. Being culturally immersed in Israel introduced me to Persian Jews like myself, Ethiopian Jews and Yemeni Jews, amongst other ethnicities - ultimately shifting me from feeling Jew-'ish' to Jewish." Read the full story right now in our e-edition. Lots of stories and special features are only available in the print and E-editions of the Jewish Herald-Voice. To make sure you are not missing out, subscribe to the print edition or subscribe to and read the E-edition right now.

This kippah could save the lives of kids with allergies

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 11:02am
At 3½, Peretz Apfelbaum may not completely understand it yet, but some kitchens can put his life in danger. The Brooklyn boy is allergic to peanuts, cashews, pistachios, flax seeds, mustard seeds, coconut, peas, eggs and beef. Some of the foods give him hives, but the nuts can send Peretz into anaphylactic shock. The inherent risks make it impossible to test the severity of some of the allergies, meaning he could have other, unexpected reactions to some of those foods. Obviously it is an extremely distressing situation for his mom, Chanie. But the 36-year-old mother of five from Crown Heights is doing something other than worrying. Chanie Apfelbaum came up with a simple, clever idea to notify others that her son has severe allergies: an "allergy alert" kippah. The skullcap, which Apfelbaum helped design with the Brooklyn-based company, iKippah - an online retailer with bright designs like the one inspired by "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" - is navy blue with a red circle on the front that contains the words "Allergy Alert." It also says "flip for info" - the underside has lines to write down the child's allergies. "We loved Chanie's idea immediately," Sarale Seewald, who founded iKippah with her sister-in-law, Dina Seewald, told JTA. "We see a great need for this kippah, and we truly believe this design will help save lives." The company put the allergy alert kippah on its website two weeks ago and, according to Seewald, has already sold a few hundred. Though the skullcaps are still unavailable in stores - iKippah has about 180 retailers as customers, in addition to its direct-to-consumer website - the company plans to make them available for wholesale soon, based on the unexpected demand. Food allergies have increased markedly in the United States in recent years. Research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has shown that food allergies in children rose by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011, possibly from overuse of antibiotics or increased hygiene, which shields children from being exposed to infectious agents during the critical immune system-forming years. Apfelbaum - a popular kosher food blogger under the moniker, Busy in Brooklyn, with more than 33,000 Instagram followers - has borne witness to the trend. She said Peretz used to wear a bracelet noting his severe allergies, but she feared it wasn't prominent enough for others to see. The kippah is an easy way to inform anyone serving food to an allergic child - at camp or restaurants or a parent hosting a play date - that they should be careful. Plus Peretz, who is a member of an Orthodox household, already wears a yarmulke every day. Apfelbaum, a member of the Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch movement, was worried, too, about Peretz running around from house to house in her community's summer bungalow colony in upstate New York. She started a WhatsApp group to message other parents about her concerns, and she helped make the colony nut free. But, the worries never totally disappear for the parent of a child with severe allergies, especially when he or she is very young. "I always remind him, but I can't trust a 3-year-old to remember that he always has to ask before [he eats something] and say 'I'm allergic,'" Apfelbaum said. "I wanted something on him so that when someone looks at him, they say, 'I can't just give him food from my kitchen,'" she said of her kippah's design. "It just makes me a little more secure." Still, it took Apfelbaum a little time to become accustomed to her son wearing the same kippah every day - she would help Peretz pick out a skullcap that coordinated with his clothes. "You get so used to [using] one that matches every outfit, and now he can only wear that," Apfelbaum said with a laugh. "But, it's worth it."

Jerusalem's top Muslim cleric detained following deadly Old City shooting

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 3:53pm
Israeli police detained the senior Muslim cleric of Jerusalem after a terrorist attack in the city that left two Israeli police officers dead, a son of the mufti of Jerusalem said. The grand mufti of the city, Mohammed Hussein, was detained for questioning Friday at a police station in the Old City, his son, Omar, told The Associated Press. According to the news site NRG, the mufti was called in to answer questions over his call to worshippers after the attack to ignore a temporary ban on prayer and public gathering at the Temple Mount compound and the Haram al Sharif mosque. Police closed the area after two Israeli police officers were killed there and another was wounded, allegedly by three Arab-Israeli men of Palestinian heritage whom security forces killed at the scene of the attack. Hussein called the closure "an escalation and aggression against al-Aqsa," the Arab-language name of the compound. In the aftermath of the attack, the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem instructed government employees and their family members not to enter the Old City of Jerusalem, without prior approval, until 8 a.m. Saturday. Private U.S. citizens should "take into consideration these restrictions and the additional guidance contained in the Department of State's travel warning for Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank when making decisions regarding their travel in the Old City and in Jerusalem," the statement also read. The American ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, wrote on Twitter about the attack: "Shocked and horrified by the despicable attack." He added: "Terrorism must be condemned by all and defeated. We pray for the victims." Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, condemned the attack in a telephone conversation he initiated with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Anti-Defamation League praised Abbas for acting "appropriately," but blamed the attack on Palestinian incitement under his watch. "For decades, there has been unceasing incitement against Israel, rife with false allegations about policies and actions in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount, from Palestinian and Israeli Arab religious and political leaders," Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL's CEO, and Carole Nuriel, the director of its Israel office, wrote in a joint statement. They said Abbas and other "Arab political and religious leaders must now take concrete action to curb anti-Israel incitement."

Fun in the sun!

Wed, 07/12/2017 - 12:16pm
Kalli Dobrolecki, Danielle Levy, Chloe Yomtov, Parker Yomtov and Lucas Derushe enjoy the splash pad. It's not too late to sign up for camps at

Community Calendar

Wed, 07/12/2017 - 12:11pm
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1"?> CommunityCalendar Upcoming

Send event listings to, including contact person's name, phone number and email address. THURSDAY, JULY 13

Texas Jewish Bar Assocation is presenting &quot;Bagels With Judges,&quot; at South Texas College of Law Houston, 1303 San Jacinto St., 7:30-9 a.m. Register at or For more information call 713-622-2111.


Congregation Beth Yeshurun will host Sunday Funday, 4-6 p.m., in honor of National Anti-Boredom Month. There will be door prizes, games, mah-jongg and more. Bring your own games. Light snacks will be served. Must be 21 or older. There is a charge to attend; register in advance at or at the door. Contact Mindi Stern with questions (, 713-666-1881).

Grandparent/Grandchild Breakfast &amp; Bingo, 9 a.m., at the JCC. Enjoy pancakes, bingo and fun with grandchildren. Learn more at or call 713-729-3200.

Daniel Silva, New York Times bestselling author, coming to the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC, 5 p.m. Program and book signing for Silva's new novel, &quot;House of Spies.&quot; Learn more at or call 713-729-3200.


Community Tzofim (Israel Scouts) Performance, 6:30 p.m., at the JCC. Authentic Israeli high energy concert for ages 5 and up. Learn more at or call 713-729-3200.

MONDAY-THURSDAY, JULY 17-20 Project Talmud daily Torah classes at Chabad Outreach, 11000 Fondren Rd. &quot;Read it in Hebrew&quot; or &quot;Prayers-Siddur,&quot; 6-7 p.m.; &quot;Talmud Tractate Midos&quot; or &quot;Chasidus-Tanya,&quot; 7-8 p.m.; &quot;Why How? What? &ndash; Likutei Sichos,&quot; 8-9 p.m. More at or 713-774-0300. TUESDAY, JULY 18

Project Talmud multimedia presentation, &quot;Jerusalem Uncovered: The Battle over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount,&quot; 7:30-9 p.m., at Chabad Outreach, 11000 Fondren Rd., or 713-774-0300.


Congregation Emanu El, 1500 Sunset Blvd., will host a community Shabbat dinner, to take place following 6 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat services. For cost and additional information, contact Jason Plotkin, 713-535-6414, or


Holocaust Museum Houston will hold free family-friendly &quot;Celebration of Hope,&quot; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Live music, food trucks, arts and crafts, survivor stories, more. Visit or call 713-942-8000.

THROUGH SATURDAY, JULY 22 On view in Holocaust Museum Houston's Mincberg Gallery, &quot;Vedem: the Underground Magazine of the Terezin Ghetto&quot; deconstructs and reinterprets the literary work of a secret society of Jewish boys, who created the longest-running underground magazine in any Nazi camp. Using a combination of pop-art graphics, drawings, paintings, and the prose and poetry of adolescent prisoners in the Terezin Ghetto, the exhibit explores 83 weekly issues of the Vedem magazine. Produced from 1942-1944, the original &quot;zine&quot; (hand-made magazine), is re-created through panels dedicated to various subject matter. SUNDAY, JULY 23

Ma-Arav Hadassah will host its 16th Annual Mah jongg Tournament at Temple Sinai, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; door prizes and dairy lunch provided. For information. contact Elissa Berry, 713-829-2397 or

Holocaust Museum Houston will have free admission, before it relocates during extensive expansion. More at or call 713-942-8000.


Beth Yeshurun Brotherhood's Rosh Hashanah jar of honey (with prayers) ordering deadline is July 24. Email Paul Katz,, for shipping information.


This year's Congregation Shaar Hashalom fundraiser is a Casino Royale-style event, featuring a night of casino games, magic shows, food, door prizes and fun. &quot;Bets on the Bay&quot; will be held at the Johnny Adolfo Civic Center Balloom, 400 W. Walker, League City, starting at 7 p.m. For information, contact the synagogue office, 281-488-5861 or

Second National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Houston Section Back to School Store, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at Congregation Emanu El. To volunteer or inquire about sponsorship and recognition benefits, contact Kristina Boshernitzan at

HAZAK presents guest speaker Barbara Homann, who will discuss Buddhism, at 2 p.m., at Congregation Brith Shalom in Bellaire. Reserve now at 713-726-8745.

WEDNESDAY, AUG 2 Congregation Emanu El hosts its third-annual Night at the Ballpark, as the Sugar Land Skeeters face the Somerset Patriots at 7:05 p.m., at Constellation Field, 1 Stadium Dr., Sugar Land. Tickets are subsidized by the Brotherhood and Emanu El and can be purchased at or by contacting the synagogue at 713-529-5771. Tickets include an all-you-can-eat buffet, featuring ballpark fare. For information, contact Jason Plotkin, Emanu El's program director, 713-535-6414 or


Congregation Shaar Hashalom's Rabbi Stuart Federow hosts free, open to the public, discussions about Judaism or religion in general, on the second Thursday of each month, Victor's 1425 NASA Pkwy., Houston 77058 (next to the &quot;space&quot; McDonald's), at 7 p.m.

Line By Line With the Prophets sessions, guided by Rabbi Federow, are conducted on Sundays, 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., at Congregation Shaar Hashalom, 16020 El Camino Real, Houston.

Israeli folk dances are held at Congregation Shaar Hashalom on Mondays, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Sessions will take place on March 7, 14, 21 and 28.

For information about sessions, contact the synagogue office, 281-488-5861, or at

TOPSoccer, a community-based soccer skills training and team program for special needs youngsters, takes place every Sunday, 5-5:45 p.m., at the ERJCC, 5601 S. Braeswood Blvd., inside the indoor gym. Volunteers are needed. For information, contact Mark K., parent volunteer, at

Big Tent Judaism announces that local Jewish institutions will host public-space programs to help those interested in starting the New Year with a fresh start. Contact Elise Passy at 832-779-1564 or

Senior ladies' poker, daytime, twice weekly, Monday and Thursday, at homes in the southwest and Stella Link areas. More players are sought. email, or call 713-560-9494.

Bellaire Jewish Center Tuesday Lunch n Learn, noon. Contact Rabbi Gavriel Jacknin, 832-971-3781.

Holocaust Museum Houston's exhibition, &quot;Life: Survivor Portraits,&quot; began during HMH's 18th anniversary. The series by local artist Kelly Lee Webeck includes 18 portraits by local survivors of the Holocaust. For information, go to, email or call 713-527-1640. &quot;Life: Survivor Portraits&quot; will remain on view through Oct. 12.

CLASSES AT CHABAD OF UPTOWN, 4311 Bettis Dr., 713-419-3960,

BLT &ndash; Bagels, Lox &amp; Tefillin
Boost your week by laying tefillin and enjoying
Torah study over a delicious breakfast.

Contemporary Themes &amp; Social for Young Professionals Exploring Torah's view on the modern world, over dinner. Topics posted at

Lunch hour, Thursdays, noon-1:15 p.m.
Evenings: Thursdays, 8-9 p.m.

Tanya &ndash; Jewish Mysticism. 9 a.m.

The J on the Go ... 60-Plus

Provides safe, reliable, non-emergency transportation for Jewish adults age 60 plus and special needs adults.

Sign up Now for Art and Mah Jongg Classes

Contact Esther Bethke at 713-595-8186 or



Wed, 07/12/2017 - 11:46am
The unveiling for Helen Topek Rosen will be held on Sunday, July 16, 2017, at 11:20 a.m. at Beth Yeshurun Cemetery, Post Oak. It will follow immediately after the service for Dr. Marcoe. Rabbi Jack Segal will officiate.


Wed, 07/12/2017 - 11:45am
The unveiling for Dr. Malcolm Marcoe will be held on Sunday, July 16, 2017, at 11 a.m. at Beth Yeshurun Cemetery, Post Oak. Rabbi Jack Segal will officiate.

July 11, 2017 - Game Day #3 vs. Chile

Wed, 07/12/2017 - 7:54am
After yesterday's rest, we have a tough upcoming three game stretch versus Chile (today - Tues), Israel (Weds) and Argentina (Thurs). We need to sweep all three to have a shot at the gold medal game. The team is focused and ready to get back on the court. A couple of our players on the team played in the Maccabi Pan American games in Chile two years ago. The Pan American USA team lost twice to Chile and were ready to settle the score. We got off to a quick start and never looked back. We were happy to see some of our injured players (Adam and Sharone) back on the court, although they only played limited minutes. Joey, one of our "bigs" found his stroke behind the arc and led the way with 26 points. Everyone else chipped in and we rolled to a 38-point victory. I finished with 11 points, with a couple buckets in transition, a jumper and some free throws. After the game, we stayed in Jerusalem as the other teams in our division played after us. A solid Argentina team beat Australia by 14 points. And in the nighttime shocker, Russia beat Israel by 2 in overtime. The Russia-Israel game was eerily similar to USA-Russia game. Like USA, Israel controlled most of the game and seemed to have the win in sight. However, Russia always kept it within striking distance and then made big shots at the end to pull out the win. Russia is in control of the division with a 3-0 start and USA and Israel (both 2-1) have big matchup tonight for who will be in driver's seat for the second spot. Game #3 vs. Chile, W 98-56

How a Korean-Jewish entrepreneur uses food to empower immigrants

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 2:37pm
NEW YORK (JTA) - Several times a month Jeanette Chawki welcomes a handful of strangers into her Brooklyn home. There, the visitors learn about life in her native Lebanon, talk about their own backgrounds, and eat food - lots of it. Among the dishes visitors tried on a recent Saturday include freshly baked cheese-stuffed bread, tangy labneh with zaatar, chopped fattoush salad topped with fried pita bread and smoky babaganoush. Chawki, a mother of three who moved to the United States in 2006, is one of nine instructors employed by the League of Kitchens, a New York-based business that offers cooking workshops taught by immigrant cooks. She hopes that people come away from her class both with the ability to cook at least one new dish - and a greater awareness of Lebanese culture. "I want [them] to know how Lebanese people are very generous, very friendly. I want to explain how we have [such a] wonderful country, it's very nice, very good place to visit, and I would like to explain more about our food," Chawki said. The League of Kitchens, whose name is a play on the League of Nations, was itself inspired by a family's unique immigration story: Founder Lisa Gross' father's family is of Hungarian Jewish heritage and moved to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, while her mother emigrated from Korea in her 20s. "The fact that I grew up moving between two cultures - moving between American Jewish culture and Korean culture - also underlies this whole project. That gave me a certain comfort and understanding how to move between cultures, and connect between cultures, and that's really what we're doing here, creating these opportunities for cross-cultural learning and exchange," Gross told JTA. League of Kitchens

Lisa Gross hopes the League of Kitchens can challenge people's perceptions of immigrants.

Gross, who founded the business in 2014, said providing ways for people to interact with immigrants has taken on an added significance following the election of Donald Trump, who campaigned on a promise to build a wall on the border with Mexico and restrict Muslims from traveling to the U.S. "An interesting side effect of the election has been a growth of interest in our business. I think people feel like not only is this a cool and fun experience, but it's taken on political significance of supporting a company that is very much about recognizing and celebrating immigrants," Gross said. Workshops are taught by instructors from countries including Nepal, Mexico and Afghanistan, cost between $110 and $175 per person and run between two and a half to five and a half hours. Instructors receive 40-50 hours of paid training prior to teaching, are paid $25 per hour for the workshops, including preparation and clean up, and are compensated for ingredients. "I could really see and understand the immigrant experience in very personal way," said Gross, 35, a former food writer who founded the urban agriculture project Boston Tree Party. "It's so clear to me how much our country is built by immigrants, and the immigrants who come here bring so much expertise, energy and passion, and they contribute so much to our culture and society and to our food culture - American food is immigrant food." During her childhood in Washington, D.C., Gross felt like "both insider and outsider in two cultures." "There was a little bit of a feeling of 'I don't really fit totally in either one,'" she said. "Obviously within a typical Ashkenazi American Jewish community, I look a little Asian - that's become more and more common, especially for younger kids, but for my generation [it wasn't]. I definitely didn't fit into the Korean/Korean American community, which in a lot of ways is very homogeneous and also they're Christian." Still, that didn't stop Gross from being involved in the Jewish community. At the urging of her mother, who converted to Judaism prior to marrying her father, Gross attended a Jewish day school through the age of 13. And the family would go to her fathers' parents to celebrate the holidays and eat traditional Jewish food. Gross hopes her workshops can provide a way to reverse preconceived notions both about immigrants and chefs. "[T]he immigrant, instead of being the displaced person in the inferior position, in this situation the immigrant is the teacher, the expert, the host, and they are people with incredible knowledge and expertise, and the students are really excited to learn from them and to hear their stories," Gross said. And though it wasn't intentional, all League of Kitchens instructors are women. "In our contemporary food media landscape, so often it's the white male celebrity chef who is recognized and celebrated, when most cooking around the world is done by women. And here are women who are immigrant women, who people might pass them and not think twice, but they have something really special to share. Creating a way for them to share that is really exciting," she said. Chawki, who has worked for League of Kitchens since its launch, said she has had people visiting from around the United States and the world - including England, Canada, Switzerland - to attend her workshops. "People are coming from different countries, faraway, just to eat my food, to have class with me. This really mean[s something] to me," Chawki said.

Beloved Houston rabbi rejected by Chief Rabbinate of Israel

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 10:57am
Even though they've gone through Orthodox conversions, Asa and Shulamit may no longer be considered Jewish. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel does not recognize the authority of the rabbi who performed their conversions. Asa and Shulamit were converted by United Orthodox Synagogues' Rabbi Joseph Radinsky, of righteous memory. Rabbi Radinsky died on Feb. 19, 2016. Yet his name appeared on the list of some 160 rabbis that the Chief Rabbinate does not trust as to the authenticity of their letters of affirmation about Jewish status. For those Jews who immigrate to Israel under the Law Of Return, they must prove they are Jewish according to Jewish law. This proof usually comes via a letter from a community rabbi who attests to the immigrant's Jewish identity. In rejecting a rabbi's proof of Judaism letter, the Israeli Chief Rabbinate is saying, in effect, they do not recognize the authority of that particular rabbi. Rabbi Radinsky was the rabbi of Houston's United Orthodox Synagogues from 1976-2003. His name appeared on the list of names that was published in English in the July 9 edition of The Times of Israel. The publication of the list of "non-approved rabbis" comes after the Israeli organization ITIM petitioned a Jerusalem court to force the Chief Rabbinate to be more transparent about the process by which it accepts a rabbi's authority on conversions. The Chief Rabbinate has denied the list of 160 rabbis is a "blacklist," or a list of persons under disfavor or censure. A spokesman said the list merely included the names of rabbis whose letters of affirmation of Jewish status letters had been rejected by the Marriage and Conversion Department of the Chief Rabbinate. This definition raises the question: Since Rabbi Radinsky has been dead for more than a year and did not submit any letters of proof in 2016, what criteria is the Chief Rabbinate using to censure him? UOS Rabbi Barry Gelman told the JHV he believes the Chief Rabbinate's rejection of Rabbi Radinsky is not about conversion. "When people make aliyah," he told the JHV, "they are asked to bring a letter stating whether they are Jewish. The list is one of rabbis whose letters were not accepted in 2016. This information comes to me from Rabbi Seth Farber, who is the founder of ITIM," said Rabbi Gelman. ITIM is an advocacy organization that helps people navigate the religious authorities' bureaucracy in Israel. Rabbi Gelman conjectures that Rabbi Radinsky may have written a letter years ago for somebody who made aliyah. Their child or grandchild approached the Chief Rabbinate with a letter Rabbi Radinsky wrote. And, that letter was not accepted. "I write these letters all the time," said Rabbi Gelman. "You need a letter from a rabbi stating you are Jewish. That's how the Law of Return works. If you want to get married in Israel, then you need to prove you are Jewish according to Halakha. That's why I conjecture that this past letter has been deemed unacceptable." In a message sent to his congregation on July 9, Rabbi Gelman wrote: "I want to clarify that this does not call into question conversions done by Rabbi Radinsky as the letters in question were about Jews by birth. These letters are produced on a regular basis for those who wish to make aliyah. ... "It is entirely unclear who authorized the Chief Rabbinate to decide which Diaspora rabbis are reliable and which are not. The criteria used to make the decision on each rabbi is also shrouded in mystery. ... "It is particularly distressing for us that Rabbi Radinsky, who spent decades helping people increase their Torah observance and who is responsible for so much of the growth of traditional Judaism in Houston, has had his good name disparaged in this way. "For an agency so unfamiliar with Diaspora Jewry as the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, to claim that they know better as to who is Jewish than Rabbi Radinsky, who was intimately aware of the details of this community, is laughable." According to Rabbi Gelman, what's at stake is that the Chief Rabbinate is telling the public that a well-established, well-regarded, dedicated rabbi of this community was not trusted when he wrote in a letter that someone is Jewish. "Some Israeli bureaucrat who doesn't know this community made the decision," said Rabbi Gelman. "I did not receive a single phone call in 2016 from anyone associated with the Chief Rabbinate, asking me to weigh in on the letter in question. I never received a letter from the rabbinate. They could have easily done that. "Personal status is a big deal in Judaism, especially in the Orthodox community. And, rabbis are constantly checking in with each other on these matters. They never checked with me. "I want to make it clear that this type of destabilizing action by the Chief Rabbinate shows disrespect of the Diaspora community. I am happy that Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau is outraged. I look forward to his repairing the situation." * * * "What business does the Israeli rabbinate have to question an Orthodox conversion by a Houston rabbi?" That's the question Shulamit asked when she spoke with the JHV on July 9. Shulamit was converted by Rabbi Radinsky on Feb. 27, 2003. (Out of respect, the JHV is using her Hebrew name.) Her Orthodox conversion followed a Conservative conversion in 1994 and marriage to a Jewish man in 1997. "We were becoming more Orthodox, and I didn't want anyone questioning my conversion," said Shulamit. "We thought we might make aliyah someday." That day is approaching. The couple has purchased a house in Arad. They plan to make aliyah in spring 2018 through Nefesh B'Nefesh. She fears that since Rabbi Radinsky's name appeared on a list of rabbis who are not trusted by the Chief Rabbinate, her status as a Jew might be challenged once she arrives in Israel. "If they don't accept my conversion in Israel, what am I going to do? I'd rather not go through another conversion at my age. "I went to Rabbi Radinsky because he was such a renowned rabbi. I never thought his conversion would be questioned. "Based on our plans to make aliyah, we put in our paperwork last week. So, this news about Rabbi Radinsky throws me for a loop. We're in the process of selling our house and business in Houston. Making aliyah is stressful enough without having to wonder whether the rabbinate will accept my Jewish authenticity. * * * Asa (his Hebrew name) converted by Rabbi Radinsky on Sept. 16, 1986. "I was on my Jewish journey. I wanted to learn Hebrew and become familiar with Judaism. Rabbi Radinsky took a real interest in me. One day I asked Rabbi Radinsky if I could convert. He answered, 'Yes you can, but I'm telling you, it's not your ticket to heaven.' Asa was still having [difficulty] letting go of the Christian belief in Jesus at the time. Rabbi Radinsky stressed that before conversion, Asa would have to renounce any belief in Jesus. Asa prayed: Am I doing the right thing? When Asa returned to UOS, he told Rabbi Radinsky he was ready. His wife and son also converted. "I've learned that once you've converted and gone through the mikvah, you're a Jew. Since then, I've always felt Jewish." Asa is currently an active member of a Houston Conservative congregation. He's served on their synagogue board and as chair of their Religious Practices Committee. He expressed anger over the lack of transparency concerning the criteria that was used to reject Rabbi Radinsky's letter, testifying to the Jewishness of someone he was familiar with. "I do not understand how the Israeli Chief Rabbinate can reject the authority of an Orthodox rabbi, who clearly could not have written a letter in 2016. "I see this as part of a power grab. This is not the first time the Israeli Chief Rabbinate has tried this. My understanding is that American Orthodox rabbis do not recognize the Israeli rabbinate as having worldwide authority. They do not have authority in the Diaspora. "Where do they get the chutzpah to reject the authority of an Orthodox rabbi in good standing? I'm troubled by the tendency of those who believe he or she is a better Jew than you because they are more stringent in keeping the law."

July 9, 2017 - Game Day #2 vs. Russia

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 10:01am
After our win against Australia on Friday we were able to scout one quarter of the Russia-Argentina game, which Russia won by 4 points. Russia has a 7-footer who was skilled - but older - and a couple of rangy guards who could shoot well. I think the team felt good from our Shabbat rest and was ready to go. We got off to a quick start led by Conrad Adamzack (Los Angeles) and Paul Vitelli (New York). Conrad was driving to the hoop and hitting his jumper and Paul was money from beyond the arc. Our point guard Adam went down with a calf injury in the first quarter, but the rest of the team picked up the slack and we were up by 14 points in the second quarter. Our game plan was to continually substitute and bring in fresh legs to keep the pressure up and get as many easy buckets as possible in transition. To the Russians credit, they were in surprisingly good shape and hit some big shots and slowed down our transition game. They played an extended match-up zone that prevented us from running our offense like we hoped. We were up by 6 after an Antwuan 3 at the halftime buzzer (M. Ruby with the assist). The third an fourth quarter continued to go a similar pace and we were up 9 points with 5 minutes to go. Over the next 5 minutes the Russians executed their plan and we did not. Their best shooters hit three 3's in that time and Russia took a 2-point lead with 48 seconds left. We had some really good looks in the final seconds, but came up short and lost 68-67. This was really a disappointment for the team as we had the game under control and let it slip away. I think there are two major takeaways from the game: 1) Every team has players and cannot be overlooked and 2) We must always play to win and not to lose - have the killer instinct and put teams away. Game #2: Russia 68, USA 67 If there is a silver lining (and there is) it is what conspired after the game. Our team co-chair Josh Kahane (Memphis) and our resident celebrity chef/teammate Sharone Hackman (LA - organized an impromptu Bar Mitzvah for two our teammates. Conrad and Paul both had Jewish heritage but never had their Bar Mitzvah. So after the game we went to the wall and had a Bar Mitzvah for each of them! As you can see from the pictures they are still in their game uniforms. It was such a special and powerful moment to both Conrad and Paul to experience individual as well to experience together as a team. This was a true Maccabi moment! Congrats on becoming men Conrad and Paul, we are proud of you!

Meet the Houston Astros Jewish Star

Tue, 07/04/2017 - 9:37am
Ten years before Alex Bregman was hitting home runs at Minute Maid Park, the Houston Astros third baseman was learning Hebrew and reading Torah. And, in the same manner in which he prides himself on being one of the hardest workers on the baseball field, there was no holding back when it came to preparing for his Bar Mitzvah. "Nothing Alex did was halfway," said Rabbi Joe Black, who officiated at Bregman's Bar Mitzvah at Congregation Albert in Albuquerque, N.M., in 2007. "Alex really felt if he didn't hit a home run with his Bar Mitzvah, it wouldn't be a success. And, he knocked it out of the park. "I really believe he understood to be a scholar athlete, you had to have a good moral sense, and the synagogue was always a big part of his early life." Now 23 years old and in his second season with the first-place Astros, Bregman is transforming from the Little League Bar Mitzvah boy to an all-around Major League Baseball super star. "A lot of times when your kid tells you he is going to be something, he eventually changes his mind. Not Alex. He always told us he was going to be a Major League Baseball player," said Bregman's mom, Jackie Bregman. "And, here we are." Continue reading the JHV's full in-depth story on Alex Bregman right now in our e-edition. The story on Bregman is one of many features in the JHV's award-winning summer magazine VOICES, which is only available in the print and E-edition of the Jewish Herald-Voice. To make sure you are not missing out, subscribe to the print edition or subscribe to and read the E-edition right now.

Alicia Sylvia Lee

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 4:30pm
Alicia Sylvia Lee, 86 years young, beautiful wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, born in Greensville, South Carolina on September 5, 1930, departed this life on Sunday, July 2, 2017. Preceded in death by her parents Gertrude and Alexander Volpin, her sons Jon and Jeffery Lee, and her sisters Harriet Kahn and Vivian Coggan. She is survived by her devoted husband of 68 years, Bernard Z. "BZ" Lee, her dedicated children Wendy and Raul Meoz, Donna and Dan Singer, and Tracey Lee Wallace, and her loving grandchildren Allison and Sean Monson, Natalie and Justin Smith, Emily and Benjamin Meoz, Katherine Meoz, Taylor Wallace, Damon Merwin, Gavin Wallace, and her adoring great grandchildren Blake, Braden, Isabelle, Drew Zane, and Adeline Monson, and Macy and Samuel Smith. Alicia's love language was clearly exhibited by her passion for cooking. Her greatest joy was preparing gourmet meals for her husband, family and countless others. Through this passion, Alicia leaves behind the Gingersnap Project, a legacy created by her dedication and passion benefiting The Center Serving Persons with Developmental Disabilities. Her culinary delights won accolades from food writers far and wide while raising over two million dollars for her most sincere passion, serving persons with special needs. Alicia twinkled like no other, leaving an indelible mark on those whom she loved. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am, Thursday, July 6, 2017 in the Gordon Chapel at Congregation Beth Israel, 5600 North Braeswood Blvd., Houston, Texas 77096. A private graveside ceremony for family only will be conducted after the service. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to The Center Serving Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 3550 West Dallas, Houston, Texas 77019

This 400-year-old Jewish library survived Hitler and the Inquisition

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 11:59am
AMSTERDAM (JTA) - Livraria Ets Haim is the world's oldest functioning Jewish library. As such, it is no stranger to the prospect of imminent destruction. Founded in 1616 by Jews who fled Catholic persecution in Spain and Portugal, the three-room library is adjacent to Amsterdam's majestic Portuguese Synagogue in the Dutch capital's center. The 30,000-volume collection mostly contains manuscripts written by people who fled the Inquisition on the Iberian Peninsula or their descendants. The oldest document is a copy of the Mishneh Torah, the code of Jewish religious law authored by Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, or Maimonides, that dates to 1282. Ets Haim's volume is pristine but for the scars left behind by an Inquisition censor, a Jew who had converted to Christianity and singed away entire passages of the book. Ets Haim as a whole faced a similar fate - or worse - in 1940, when the Nazis invaded the Netherlands and had 75 percent of its Jews murdered. Yet the Nazis left the Portuguese Synagogue intact, and instead of burning the library's collection, they shipped the books to Germany. The collection was discovered there, with light damage, after the war. After the war, the books were returned to Amsterdam. But the Dutch Jewish community lacked the resources to preserve the collection. Library curators determined that the Ets Haim building would need to be renovated thoroughly to ensure the proper conditions, so in 1979 the books were sent to Israel. Following extensive renovations to the building, which dates to 1675, the collection returned home in 2000. And now, relying upon 21st-century technology, its custodians are determined to make the library's works accessible to interested parties around the world. The aim, according to Ets Haim's curator, Heide Warncke, is to ensure that the knowledge stored between its pages is never lost again. In 2014, using advanced imaging equipment, the National Library of Israel has partnered with Ets Haim to digitize its entire catalog. And now the partners will make everything available online - and for free. The Jerusalem library will include Ets Haim's books in Ktiv, a vast international collection of digitized Hebrew manuscripts that is set to launch in August. The scans - from centuries-old stores like Ets Haim's - are ultra high-resolution files that are resistant to digital decay. For added security, they are stored on several servers worldwide. "Like many Holocaust survivors have in their lives, the books of Ets Haim have demonstrated a remarkable ability to cheat death," said Aviad Stollman, head of collections at the National Library of Israel. "But we still need to do our part to ensure this exquisite Jewish library is preserved for centuries to come." The library is housed in a two-story wooden building with a steep, spiral staircase and two octagonal sky windows that provide diffused light. It is open to the public only a handful of times each year during guided tours that typically need to be booked in advance. (Accredited scholars may access the library year-round.) Warncke said the restrictive policy is meant to protect the books, which are at risk of being damaged by humidity and changes in temperature. The Ets Haim collection, which in 2003 was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage items, owes its richness to its genesis from Iberian Jews, she added. These Jewish immigrants were pioneers in philosophy, innovation, trade and medicine, she said. When they fled the Inquisition, they brought knowledge to the Netherlands on theology, astronomy (as evidenced in Ets Haim's Hebrew-language book from the 17th century titled "Collection of Astronomical Treatises") and medicine. One decidedly modern volume, the "Dictionary of Maritime Terms," was published in 1780 by the translator David Franco Mendes in Amsterdam, offering entries in Dutch, French, Portuguese and Spanish alongside fine sketches of ship parts. Though his book is secular in essence, Mendes was a prominent member of the Jewish congregation as well as an insurance broker. Other Sephardic Jews used the relative tolerance they encountered in the Netherlands to resume the study of Jewish texts that had been largely stunted throughout Europe following the Inquisition. "The people who founded Ets Haim and helped it grow had been living under persecution for decades," said Ruth Peeters, a senior cataloger at the library. "You can see in the books their enthusiasm about being able to reconnect with their Jewish traditions openly and resume the study of it. Ets Haim is a testament to the cultural revival they led." At times, this enthusiasm for theological debate tested the borders of acceptability even in the Netherlands, which despite being a relatively tolerant nation was also a deeply religious Christian one. One such publication was the benignly titled book "Selected Works by Various Authors." Written in Spanish in the 17th century by Saul Levi Mortera, it contains "refutation of the gospels, acts, epistles" according to Ets Haim, and "arguments against Christianity," according to the Israeli library. Such explosive publications were kept at Ets Haim as manuscripts and were printed rarely, Warncke said, so as to limit their distribution and avoid angering Dutch society. This culture of debate among the Jewish community, as well as its exposure to different religions and ideas that an international trading hub provided, produced heretics like the philosophers Baruch Spinoza - who was excommunicated by Jews for his atheist musings, possibly because they also offended Christians - and Uriel da Costa. There is no way of knowing for sure, but both men (who died in 1632 and 1640, respectively) may well have frequented Ets Haim to conduct their research, Warncke said. "It was, after all, the largest collection around of Jewish writings," she said. And while there is no record of Spinoza's activity at the library, his father had enrolled him in the Ets Haim seminary, which was Amsterdam's first Portuguese Jewish seminary, of which the library was a part. Another controversial figure did leave an indelible mark on the library: Shabbetai Zevi, the Turkey-born Jewish eccentric who divided the Jewish world with his claim that he was the Messiah. Under duress, he converted to Islam in 1666. One of Ets Haim's most remarkable documents is a letter sent that year to Zevi by 24 Dutch Jews who left the community over their support for Zevi's messianic claim. In the three-page Hebrew-language document, they ask for word from their messiah and recount the story of Shabtai Raphael, who was banned from the city over his support for Shabbetai Zevi. The letter never reached the self-proclaimed messiah, probably because he had already converted to Islam when the envoy sent with it reached the Ottoman Empire. Whereas these documents are well researched, new discoveries are always being made, said Warncke. As an example, she cited a 15th-century author's dedication to his wife - a rare tribute for a woman that reflected the progressive nature of Dutch Jewry at the time. Digitization, she said, is "one of the possibilities to make our manuscripts accessible to a bigger audience. That can lead to more knowledge. There are many secrets still to be unlocked."

Israel slammed in verse at Houston protest

Wed, 06/28/2017 - 3:02pm
Demonstrators staged an anti-Israel poetry slam and called for the annihilation of the Jewish state. The demonstration took place June 23, the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, on the high-traffic corner of Westheimer Road and Post Oak Boulevard, near The Galleria Houston. Houston was one of several cities around the world where Al Quds Day demonstrations were held - an annual event initiated by leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran to decry Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem, following the 1967 Six-Day War. "Down with Zionism! Down with Israel!" local demonstrators chanted toward traffic with fists raised in the air. "Resistance is justified when people are occupied!" They added, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!" In between chants, demonstrators took turns with a microphone, reading longer anti-Israel diatribes, written in poetic verse. Many of the demonstrators, including young children, were given placards and banners to wave. Several accused Israel of perpetrating "genocide" and "apartheid" against the Palestinians, while others equated Zionism with racism. A few charged Israel with supporting the so-called Islamic State and the Syrian civil war. Demonstrators also wore Al Quds Day T-shirts, emblazoned with a clenched fist, a Palestinian flag covering a map of the entire State of Israel and a quote attributed to Malcolm X. College students involved in the demonstration said they hope to align their cause with the struggle against all oppressed minority groups, according to a political theory known as intersectionality. Demonstration leaders announced their commitment to staging Al Quds Day events every year "until Israel is destroyed," they said. Event organizers publicly thanked the Iranian regime for initiating Al Quds Day.

Beth Israel goes to Greene

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 1:39pm
David Scott, executive director and director of Lifelong Learning of Congregation Beth Israel and Rabbi Adrienne Scott and served on faculty during the first week of the 2017 summer session at Greene Family Camp, where Beth Israel campers enjoyedSession I.

Modi-Trump summit promises progress on several fronts

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 1:31pm
By JASON ISAACSON | AJC WASHINGTON - The Washington that India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited on June 24, in ways obvious and not so obvious, is significantly different from the Washington he visited in June 2016. Not only has the party, worldview, life experience and temperament of the occupant of the Oval Office changed, so, too, has the potential power of the presidency - the restraints imposed by a divided government under most of the Barack Obama presidency, lifted with the White House and both houses of Congress in Republican hands. But those are the most apparent changes Washington has undergone. Below the surface - and profoundly important to the future of U.S.-India relations - is a palpable shift in American confidence in the benefits of multilateralism, of the effectiveness of soft power, of adherence to international norms and commitments that yield more tangible gains to America's partners than to America, herself. Of course, a central topic in the coming talks in Washington is likely to be another issue invoking disparate assessments of benefit that has shifted significantly under the Donald Trump administration: the future of the H1B visa program. A president who campaigned on repeated promises to prevent foreign workers, at every level, from taking American jobs, will face a prime minister who knows that high-skilled foreigners can expand the American economic pie, to the advantage of American workers and consumers, and foreign workers and consumers, alike. The differences between positions staked out by then-candidate and now-President Trump and those of the Modi government on other issues - including the realities of climate change and prospective means to alleviate it, and the regional and global security threat posed by Iran and the urgency of countering it - will no doubt feature in this week's Washington talks. But, the emphasis will likely be on common concerns, shared perspectives of threat, prospects for increased cooperation. Policy disagreements will be confronted, if not resolved in one 48-hour visit. The impact of this week's talks will lie elsewhere. For personality polarities aside, there is every reason to expect positive chemistry between the rigorously disciplined prime minister and the irrepressible president on their first meeting - and out of that chemistry can come mutual benefits to India and the United States. These mutual benefits, that level of trust and interdependence, are what advocates of the U.S.-India strategic partnership, my organization prominently among them, have been working for and hoping for, for decades. The Modi-Trump summit, following in the footsteps of President Obama's two visits to India (including as the featured guest on Republic Day) and the prime minister's two previous visits to Washington (including his triumphal address in Congress last June), promises further progress on several fronts: military sales, including continued Indian production of U.S. hardware and eased restrictions on technology sharing; counterterrorism cooperation; and new understandings on India's strategic interests in Afghanistan and a frank assessment of Pakistan's destabilizing role and links to terror. Contributing to the success of this visit, as in previous visits, will be the increasingly well-organized, civically and politically active and influential Indian-American community. The American Jewish Committee has been privileged to partner with our Indian American countrymen for more than two decades to advance the growing U.S.-India alliance. We worked side by side to win passage of the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement in 2008 - a milestone on the path to strategic partnership. And, we have worked side-by-side to promote expanded trade and investment, educational exchange and political understanding between Washington and New Delhi. So, too, hand in hand with Indian-American leadership, AJC has promoted the mutual benefits of expanding cooperation between India and another pluralistic state in a turbulent region: Israel. How fitting it is that just one week after Prime Minister Modi concludes his latest consultations in Washington he will land in Tel Aviv - the first visit by an Indian head of government to Israel. There, too, the emphasis will be on common interests, common threats, shared opportunities and the virtually unlimited potential of economic, strategic, educational, technological, agricultural and cultural synergies between sister democracies. Over the course of 10 days, the leader of the world's largest democracy will forge important ties with the leader of the world's oldest and strongest democracy, and then demonstrate by his very presence the substantial and hitherto often hidden bond between India and Israel. This historic stop will be the prime minister's second time in Israel, after a visit as Gujarat chief minister in 2006. As in his Washington visit, some of the names and the issues will have changed. And, as with the United States, the fundamentals of India's bilateral relationship with Israel just keep growing stronger. Jason Isaacson is the associate executive director for Policy of the American Jewish Committee, which includes an office in New Delhi.

Israel freezes Western Wall compromise that was to create egalitarian prayer section

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 12:14pm
JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Cabinet has frozen a government decision to create an official egalitarian prayer section at the Western Wall. The suspension announced Sunday comes after the haredi Orthodox United Torah Judaism party and the Sephardi Orthodox Shas party, both members of the current government, put pressure on Netanyahu to scrap the agreement, including threatening to leave the coalition government. As part of the decision, work on the egalitarian prayer area erected at Robinson's Arch, located on the southern edge of the Western Wall plaza, will continue. The prime minister has asked Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman and Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi to formulate a new plan that will be acceptable to the religious parties. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz reportedly voted against the decision. Education Minister Naftali Bennett was not present for the vote. The decision negates an agreement passed in January 2016 by the government for an egalitarian prayer section at the Western Wall, which was negotiated by the Reform and Conservative movements, the Women of the Wall, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israeli government. Under the agreement, the egalitarian section of the wall near Robinson's Arch was to be expanded and placed under the authority of a pluralist committee. The section would have had a common entrance with the rest of the Western Wall plaza. Natan Sharansky, chairman of board of governors of the Jewish Agency, said in a statement issued on Sunday that he is disappointed by the government's decision. "Five years ago, the Prime Minister asked me to lead a joint effort to bring about a workable formula that would transform the Western Wall into, in his own words, 'one wall for one people.'After four years of intense negotiations, we reached a solution that was accepted by all major denominations and was then adopted by the government and embraced by the world's Jewish communities. Today's decision signifies a retreat from that agreement and will make our work to bring Israel and the Jewish world closer together increasingly more difficult," the statement said. "The Jewish Agency nevertheless remains staunchly committed to that work and to the principle of one wall for one people." In a post on Facebook, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, executive director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, called the decision a "sad and shameful move that capitulates to the pressure of the Haredi parties." The decision is "a serious violation of the basic interests of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. The prime minister and his partners lent a hand to an anti-Zionist move that undermines Israel's ties with Diaspora Jewry, and weakens the connection of millions of Jews to Jerusalem." Anat Hoffman, chairperson of Women of the Wall, called the decision "shameful to the government and its women ministers who were exposed using their vote against women." "It's a terrible day for women in Israel when the prime minister sacrifices their rights while kowtowing to a handful of religious extremists, who want to enforce their religious customs while intentionally violating the rights of the majority of the Jewish world, 51 percent being women," Hoffman continued. "Women of the Wall will continue to pray as we always have in the Women's Section at the Western Wall, with a Torah scroll and prayer shawls, until women's equality will be established at the Kotel. Just like you wouldn't ask a man to take off his Kipa, don't ask us to stop praying according to our conscience," she said. On Sunday morning, some 100 members of the Women of the Wall participated in the monthly Rosh Chodesh service at the Western Wall. Before entering the Western Wall plaza, the women's bags and belongings were searched, including every page on every prayer book, the group said in a statement. The women also met disturbances by haredi Orthodox women and girls who whistled, shouted and banged in order to silence the prayer. Despite the state's commitment to prevent such disturbances, the teen-aged girls, dressed in black with their faces covered, were not removed from the women's section as they continued to harass the worshipers. The women also smuggled a Torah scroll in to the women's section and read from it as part of the service.


Tue, 06/06/2017 - 3:58pm
Dr. Karen Adler Storthz, born Aug. 31, 1954, in Alexandria, La., the daughter of Homer and Marilyn Adler, died at her home in Houston on June 6, 2017, at the age of 62. She is survived by her three favorite people of all time: husband, Joe Storthz; daughter, Amy Storthz of Houston; and brother, Dr. Rhodes Adler (Annick) of Hudson, N.Y. She also leaves behind loving in-laws, Chester and Carol Storthz, and Jenny Boshears, all from Little Rock, along with beloved nieces and nephews, and a host of cherished friends from across the country - from the Deep South to the Oregon coast, from New Hampshire to New Mexico and beyond. Karen and Joe spent treasured time at their adobe retreat in Taos, skiing, hiking, mountain climbing, enjoying the local venues, the magnificent view of the Sacred Mountain and their deep friendships forged there. She was a competitor, always striving to excel, especially when it came to tennis and mah-jongg. She loved beautiful jewelry and art, wearing the jewelry and filling every room with the artwork. Always generous with her time and expertise, she chose to mentor young scientists and quietly gave help to many others in her life. Karen was Louisiana fun, Texas tough and Ph.D. smart. She received her Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral degrees (microbiology/immunology) from LSU and became Associate Dean of Research at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. During her tenure there, she published hundreds of papers, many on cancer research. She may have lost a hard-fought and courageous battle with cancer, but her work will help win the war against this terrible disease. Karen retired from the UT system in 2012 and became Professor Emerita. She was also a Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, receiving many distinguished honors and awards. Not only are her loved ones grieving, but her colleagues at UT and Rice mourn the loss of a thought-leader and an inspiring friend with her passing. For all of us who loved and knew her, Karen was our rock. Though death took her prematurely, Karen's days were filled with enough love, brilliance, and memorable experiences for several lifetimes. Her zest for living was unsurpassed, and she will remain young and in our hearts forever. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 9, 2017, at Congregation Beth Israel, 5600 North Braeswood. Donations in Karen's memory may be made to Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C), Congregation Beth Israel, the JCC of Greater Houston or the charity of your choice.

Sears website offers clothing with slogan calling to 'Free Palestine'

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 11:43am
Clothing with slogans calling to "Free Palestine End Israeli Occupation" are for sale on the Sears website. The clothing is being offered for sale by another company, Spreadshirt Collection, and includes tank tops, and t-shirts and hoodies featuring a variety of pro-Palestinian messages. The garments are being sold through Sears Marketplace, which offers a platform for third-party sellers to offer their wares through websites managed by Sears. The availability of the designs was first reported by Reuters. The designs include a clenched fist in the colors of the Palestinian flag and statements opposing the Israeli occupation. In a statement on its website, the Germany-based Spreadshirt Collection calls itself a "global platform for personalized clothing and accessories, we are the go-to-place for anyone looking to realize their creative ideas on quality fabrics. We value freedom of expression, whether it's with your own designs or those made available by our community." The company's code of responsibility says that it does not print things that are "bound to offend people." "Just like with other things in democracy, there are natural limits to our freedom of expression. We do not print things that are bound to offend people, e.g. pornographic material and content designed to insult and discriminate against genders or religious and ethnic groups. We won't print anything that's not right and fair. Above all, a code of ethics applies. This implies that we do not condone any designs displaying hate and contempt for others," the statement says. Elsewhere on its site, the company says that it values free expression. "Therefore, we print almost all designs sent to us whether we, as a company or personally, like them or not."