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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: 2 hours 54 min ago

What's in an archive?: Stories from the Houston Jewish History Archive

2 hours 14 min ago
Right now, at this very moment, tucked away inside closets, attics and bookcases all over Houston and the world, there are rare historical treasures waiting to be discovered. Hidden from sight, sometimes for decades, these photographs, programs, letters, diaries, bulletins, yearbooks and cookbooks tell the stories of the Jewish men and women who made their lives in South Texas, the challenges they confronted, the opportunities they seized, the institutions and organizations they built and the neighborhoods they called home. Sadly, with the passage of time and the ravages of recent floods, many of these priceless records have been lost forever. But, not all has been lost, and that which can still be saved, must be saved. Many of you have read about our efforts at Rice University to launch a new archive dedicated to the historical preservation and study of Jewish life in Houston and South Texas. The Houston Jewish History Archive will formally launch on July 1, thanks in large part to a generous grant from the Stanford and Joan Alexander Foundation. The HJHA is a collaboration between Rice's Program in Jewish Studies and the Woodson Research Center in Rice's Fondren Library. Our mission is to collect, preserve and make accessible the documents, photographs and memories of Jewish Texans from the Houston region. In this new monthly column for the JHV, I'll highlight interesting and significant records from our collection, share stories about how some of these items found their way to Rice's Fondren Library from all over the world, and offer suggestions for how you can get involved and support our efforts. But first, let me explain what an archive is, why archives are important, and what you'll see when you come to visit. All of us are familiar with museums, where you can tour exhibits encased in glass that feature photographs, documents, artifacts and other historical items. Museums specialize in public education, providing access to their collections to large groups, usually in exchange for an admission fee. The central mission of an archive, by contrast, is to preserve these records for research, rather than to put them on permanent display. Materials are organized into manuscript collections, arranged into boxes and folders, kept in special temperature-controlled storage facilities and made available to visitors by request. Archives specialize in the preservation and treatment of rare, original documents, photographs and memorabilia. The HJHA does not generally accept photocopies or reprints, except in special cases where an original copy no longer exists or is unattainable. The mission of this archive is to ensure that the historical record of the Jewish communities of Houston and South Texas is never washed away or destroyed, and that both we and the generations that follow us will be able to study and learn from these materials in perpetuity. Records that are donated to the HJHA form part of Rice's Special Collections, the university's assortment of rare books and materials which are housed in the Woodson Research Center in Fondren Library. Beginning in July, after the formal launch of the archive, visitors are welcome to the Woodson between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, to see our collections. Before you visit, contact me at [email protected] and I'll be happy to arrange a guided tour. You also can keep track of what materials are available for viewing in the Woodson by following the Houston Jewish History Archive's Facebook page. In the months and years to come, as the archive continues to grow, the HJHA will have its own dedicated website, sponsored lectures and public programs and more. Until then, I'm excited to keep you updated about our progress in this column. * * * Next month: "Hidden Stars: The Story of the Beth Jacob Banner" Dr. Joshua Furman is the inaugural director of the Houston Jewish History Archive at Rice University, effective July 1. If you are interested in donating materials to the archive for preservation, or learning more about how you can support the HJHA, contact Dr. Furman at [email protected] or 713-348-3418.

JHV begins new social column

2 hours 15 min ago
Every month, I will bring you the latest and greatest on what's happening in our Greater Houston Jewish community. If you have something you'd like to submit, reach out to me at [email protected]. I can't wait to hear from you! New Schusterman fellow Let's roll: I want to throw a big 'ole Texas-sized congratulations to Kari Saratovsky, principal of Third Plateau Social Impact Strategies. Kari has been selected for The Schusterman Fellowship Cohort, made up of 26 individuals from across the U.S., Israel and the UK. The Schusterman Fellowship is a leadership-development program for individuals who are committed to growing their leadership capacity in the Jewish community. Way to go, Kari! You will make Houston proud! New addition Boy oh boy, are you going to love this one. Jenny and Brandon Mark are thrilled to share that, in September, they will be welcoming a boy into their family to join big sister Maddie and big brother Brody. Mazel Tov, Mark family! Dollars for leukemia Someone once told me that they have admiration for all people, but special admiration for people who turn their grief into help for others, Adam Burck (full disclosure: Adam is my husband) has done just that. Adam lost his dad, Jeff Burck, three years ago to leukemia. In 2017, Adam was nominated by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society-Texas Gulf Coast Chapter as a candidate for Man of the Year. He may not have won the competition, but he raised more than $50,000, which subsequently enabled him to get a grant for leukemia research, named in honor of his father. Congrats, Adam! Don't forget to contact me with your good news, at [email protected]. Births, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, engagement and wedding announcements should still be sent to [email protected].

Students maintain 'fight' for gun safety reform

Tue, 04/24/2018 - 2:18pm
Thousands of students who walked out of class and marched on Houston City Hall April 20 said they will continue to raise their voices - and vote - until elected officials enact "common sense" gun safety reform, aimed at preventing shoot shootings. The Houston Youth Walkout and similar events in cities across the country were held on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, and took place a month after the March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington, following another deadly school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Local high school students organized the Houston Youth Walkout, which began at 10 a.m., and converged on Houston City Hall an hour later. Emery/Weiner School junior David Ilouz helped organize the walkout and was one of a dozen young speakers, who addressed the crowd of more than 2,000 students on the steps of City Hall. "With each gun death, each school shooting, each massacre, waves of pain and mourning wash across America," Ilouz said. "We get floods of 'thoughts and prayers,' but nothing seems to change. "If one thing seems certain in our nation, it is that there will be another shooting," he said. Safety fears Ilouz and others who spoke at the march said that adults have failed to protect children who go to class every day. Students fear that their school could be next. "School is a place where we should be able to go and learn and not have to fear for our safety," said Abby Eastman, a Bellaire High School senior, who helped organize the Houston Youth Walkout. "I go to a large public high school and there are days that I walk down the hallway concerned that something could happen, because you don't know who's going to be in the building, you don't what they have on them and what they might do," Eastman told the JHV. "I'm taking part in this march, today, and in the wider movement, not just for my own safety, but for younger kids and younger generations, especially," Eastman said. "I don't want them to have to go through school and be more focused on making it home alive, rather than learning." Policy change Students who participated in the April 20 walkout called for "policy change." They said they don't want to repeal the Second Amendment. Instead, they want "common sense" gun reform that would ban certain gun accessories, such as bump stocks, improve mental health screenings and universal background checks, and make it more difficult for civilians to purchase military-grade assault rifles, like those used in the Parkland and Columbine school shootings. U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas State Rep. Gene Wu, Houston Mayor Pro-tem Ellen Cohen and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner were among the elected officials who stood in solidarity with students at City Hall during the Houston Youth Walkout. "If you keep raising your voices, just like I came out of City Hall, today, a lot of state representatives, state senators, governors, people all over the country, they will come out of their offices and they will stand with you," Mayor Turner told the crowd of students. Houston's mayor dismissed criticism of the walkout, which took place during school hours. "There are a lot of people that need to be at school," he said. "Those in the capitol need to be at school. There are a whole lot of people who are voting on legislation who need to be in school. There are a lot of people who are selling all these guns who need to be in school. "These people need to know that your lives do matter, your lives do count," Mayor Turner said. "They need to know this is a new day, a new time, and you're just not going to put up with it anymore." Mayor Pro-tem Ellen Cohen said Americans have struggled for decades over the country's growing mass shooting crisis. Little had been done to prevent more school shootings - until now, she said. "You may not be the decision-makers yet, but you will be," Mayor Pro-tem Cohen said. "Register to vote as soon as you can, and vote like your life depends on it - because it absolutely does." The Houston Youth Walkout included a voter-registration drive. Class disruptions Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, dismissed the argument that arming teachers with guns, as some lawmakers have suggested, will prevent future school shootings. "They can't find a way to fund our schools, right, but they want to buy guns and bullets to arm our teachers?" Capo said. "Our teachers don't want to be police officers. It's bad enough that they make us the nurse, the social worker, the welfare provider. "We are not adding police officer to the list of our duties," he said. Lamar High School junior Hanna Boucher was among the first students to arrive at City Hall. She and her classmates performed a "die-in" to call attention to the growing number of American children who have been shot and killed simply by going to school. "We want to show the nation that Texas students, who come from such a pro-Second Amendment state, feel really strongly about this issue and we want to see change," Boucher told the JHV. Since Parkland, teachers at Lamar and other HISD schools were instructed to black out their classroom windows as a safety precaution against an active shooter situation, students noted. Active shooter drills also have increased, they added. Boucher said that some Houston-area school administrations tried to prevent students from walking out of class on April 10, so some students decided to miss school that day in order to participate in the march on City Hall. "They didn't want us to walk out, because it would disrupt class," Boucher said. "But I can tell you that the active shooter drills that we now have to do all the time force us to miss a whole lot more class." Momentum Ilouz said that his school, EWS, has been "very supportive" of students on campus who are engaging in political discussions and activism in response to the country's school shooting crisis. EWS sent a delegation of students and teachers to the March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington, as well as those that have taken place at Houston City Hall. "It's up to us to keep the momentum going," he told the JHV. "This is not a moment, it's a movement - a movement entirely led by students. It's something we're going to keep fighting for." Addressing his peers at the Houston Youth Walkout, Ilouz said, "We are fighting a fight in which we - children and adults - are dying. "We are fighting for our lives, and the stakes are too high for us to do anything less," he said. "We fight for a future in which children are safe in their schools. We fight for every single person who has been killed or hurt in this country - from Columbine to Parkland, from Sandy Hook to San Bernardino, from Vegas to Virginia Tech. ... "We fight with hope and determination that we can help fix our nation, because we WILL fix our nation," Ilouz said. "We fight because we cannot go on a single day without asking ourselves: Are we next? Is my school next? "We fight because we must," he said. "Because if we don't, nobody will."

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Mon, 04/09/2018 - 2:40pm
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Demo begins on flood-damaged shul

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 10:59am
Rabbi Barry Gelman spent a quiet moment inside United Orthodox Synagogues' sanctuary on Monday morning, April 9, minutes before the Hurricane Harvey-damaged building was torn down. Demolition began at UOS, some eight months after Hurricane Harvey inflicted severe flood damage to the facility. UOS' main building, sanctuary and school wing are being torn down. Plans for a new building - located either on the same property or nearby on the other side of I-610, will be decided upon by the congregation over the coming months, according to UOS leaders. Read the full story and see all the pictures in this week's JHV. To make sure you are not missing out, subscribe to the print edition or subscribe to and read the E-edition right now.