Your Jewish Journey Starts Here.

Jewish Herald Voice

Subscribe to Jewish Herald Voice feed
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: 1 hour 22 min ago

Bregman presented with championship menorah

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 9:35am
Houston Astros and World Series star Alex Bregman was presented with a silver-plated menorah, courtesy of Jumbo Judaica, while meeting and signing autographs with thousands of fans at Academy Sports & Outdoors in Webster, Texas, on Nov. 16. Dr. Stuart Cagen, Itzy Cagen, Efrat Sasson and Ben Cotlar presented Bregman with the gift, which had a note on the box: "Mazel Tov on the championship!" The group, which also exchanged a few words about "fellow-Jews" and "Chanukah," said Bregman was remarkably grateful and very respectful as he thanked them for coming out.

Emanu El wins World Series wager with LA temple

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 10:55am
The first week of November was a tasty one for the staff of Congregation Emanu El, following the Houston Astros' win of the 2017 World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Emanu El's staff received a delivery from Factor's Famous Deli, thanks to a friendly World Series wager by Rabbi Oren Hayon with his colleague, Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback of Stephen Wise Temple in Los Angeles. As part of the friendly wager, Rabbi Hayon offered that, if the Dodgers win, Emanu El would make a charitable donation to the relief efforts at Camp Newman, a 485-acre camp operated by the Union for Reform Judaism, which was devastated by the recent fires in Northern California. Emanu El would also treat the Stephen Wise staff to pecan pies. Rabbi Zweiback accepted Emanu El's challenge and offered a platter of meat from Factor's Famous Deli and a donation to a charity of Emanu El's choice, if the Astros won. The Houston-based congregation of 1,750-plus families decided the monies would be appropriate for Hurricane Harvey relief, as more than 150 families within the extended Emanu El community were devastated by the impacts of the storm. Throughout the closely contested World Series, the two rabbis traded videos back and forth on their respective synagogue's Facebook pages. The videos, which featured Talmudic teachings, mixed in with comedic antics, had thousands of views - both rabbis garnering attention from local media outlets. After the Series, Zweiback paid on the promises of Stephen Wise Temple, which included the deli platter. In honor of his colleague, Rabbi Hayon offered a donation to Camp Newman, on behalf of Emanu El. Both synagogues are members of the URJ and are assisting with efforts during the recent disruptions. Camp Newman, which serves as a home to Stephen Wise campers each summer, announced it would host its summer 2018 camp at Cal State University - Maritime Academy. Emanu El is nearly complete with the remediation work, following Hurricane Harvey. Its member families are slowly rebuilding their homes and their lives. To contribute to Camp Newman, visit Those interested in contributing to Emanu El may go to

Emery pair commits to play Division I baseball, tennis

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 4:48pm
Two Emery High School student-athletes will soon become collegiate student-athletes. Two-time state champion Michael Barsky committed to play Division I tennis at George Washington. State champion pitcher Joe Sondock committed to play Division I baseball at The University of North Carolina at Asheville. The pair made their decisions official by signing letters of intent in front of about 200 students, teachers and family at The Emery/Weiner School on Nov. 10. "This is a very special and momentous occasion," Emery athletic director Angie Gubitz said. "We are so proud to have two outstanding young men committing to play college athletics." Barsky, who won the state tennis championship as a freshman and junior, is one of the most decorated student-athletes to attend Emery. Barsky has led the Jaguars to consecutive years of No. 1 ranking in TAPPS and is a superchamp on the tennis circuit. He has only lost one district match during his Emery career and avenged that loss by winning 6-0, 6-0 in the rematch the following year. "I've learned how to persevere through tough situations to get where I am today," Barsky said. "To go on and play this sport in college at a good academic school means everything to me." Barsky was coached at Emery by Dave Green. "Mike has been the best team captain we've every had," Green said. "He is just a great kid." JHV: MATT SAMUELS

Joe Sondock with his family after signing to play Division I baseball at UNC-Asheville.

Sondock helped lead the Jaguars to their first ever baseball state title last season. He was 6-2 with a 2.43 earned run average, striking out 54 batters and earning two saves. His biggest save came in last year's state semifinals, where he returned to start the championship game, which the Jaguars eventually won. Sondock was second-team all-state, first-team all-district and first-team all Houston. He also batted over .300 when he wasn't on the mound. "All the work I've put in since I was 8 or 9 years old has come to conclusion," said Sondock, who also plays on the Emery basketball team. "When I was 10 years old, I played for my Little League all-star team and I was selected as an alternate. It really hurt sitting in the stands watching all my teammates play. "I could have just hung up my cleats and never played baseball again, but at that point I decided I really needed to work hard if I want to become better." Sondock was coached by Emery baseball coach Adrian Adams. "I remember watching him play in middle school and we identified early on that he was someone who could play in college," Adams said. "He really made a big leap his junior year. He has been in some really big games and he always wants the ball. "He has also become a leader that people look up to. UNC Asheville is not only getting a good player, but a great person. " Perhaps the most exciting part for the Jaguars is the fact neither of student-athlete has played their senior seasons yet. Both expect big things in the coming month on the tennis court and baseball field.

YAD families, Medallion seniors create tzedakah boxes

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 11:05am
Members of the Jerome Robinson Family YAD group of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston and families were on hand Sunday, Oct. 29, to enjoy an intergenerational program with residents of The Medallion. The group was comprised mostly of young families with babies and toddlers. The day was the annual YAD Mitzvah Day. Read the full story and see more pictures 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.

Israeli children send cards to Houston post-Harvey

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 1:44pm
For 35 years, the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston has maintained a special partnership with the neighborhoods of Yoseftal and Dado in Petach Tikvah, Israel. For people living there, Hurricane Harvey was not just another natural disaster - it was a storm that impacted a community they had grown to love. When first-graders at Kibbutz Galuyot Elementary School in Dado learned about the destruction in the Houston community, they wanted to find a way to do something meaningful. They chose to make New Year greeting cards for children in Houston. Ronit Grady, a science and nutrition teacher at the school, already had planned to travel to Texas for a wedding. She and her son-in-law, Jonathan Goldsmith, who is originally from Houston, stopped by the Federation on Monday, Oct. 9, to hand deliver the cards. Grady and Goldsmith met with Federation Partnership chair Linda Freedman Block, senior vice president of Development Suzanne Jacobson and vice president of Planning and Allocations Barbara Bratter. "Over the years, we have built an incredible relationship with the people of Yoseftal and Dado," Block said. "They have sent representatives here to share Israeli culture, and everyone who has been on a Federation mission has enjoyed a home-cooked meal in family homes in these neighborhoods. It is very moving for them to reach out to us in this way while our community is struggling." 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.

Texas governor: Church shooting not as bad as Hitler

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 4:33pm
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that the church shooting in the small town of Sutherland Springs that left 26 people dead needs to be "put in the context of history" and compared it to the "horrific events" of the Nazi era. Abbott made the comments Sunday in the hours after the deadly attack on the First Baptist Church in the small Texas town during an interview on "Outnumbered Overtime" on Fox News. He was responding to host Harris Faulkner, who asked for a non-political answer to the question "What do we say to each other about this?" Abbott called for a "a two-step process," saying that "part is putting this in context." "Remember, even though we're facing these severe tragedies - whether it be what happened in Sutherland Springs, or what happened in Las Vegas, or what happened in New York last week, or what happened in London earlier this year - we have acts of evil taking place, and because they are close in time to us right now, we think this is something heavy right now. But put this in the context of history. Look at what happened with Hitler during the horrific events during that era," he said. Abbott continued, going back further in history: "and Mussolini and go back in time before that to the earlier ages, the Middle Ages, when people committed horrific crimes, and when you go back through the history of the Bible, there was evil that took place from earliest stages of the Bible to post-New Testament, so evil is something that has permeated this world." The Republican governor has said publicly that not enough Texans own guns and has supported concealed carry weapons legislation.

SAY IT AIN'T 'STRO! - Bregman, Astros win Houston's first World Series title

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 12:43am
Four years ago, the Houston Astros were sitting at home watching the World Series after a third straight 100+ loss season. On Wednesday night in Los Angeles, the Astros were on top of the baseball world. Two months after Hurricane Harvey ravaged the city, Houston finally had something to cheer about - the Astros' first World Series championship in franchise history. Houston beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in the winner-take-all Game 7. Helping lead the charge was 23-year-old Jewish third basemen Alex Bregman, who led the Astros to a pivotal and dramatic Game 5 extra-innings victory three days earlier. "This is an unbelievable dream come true," Bregman said after Game 7. "It's something you dream about as a kid. "We've been working so hard together since spring training and to see the smiles on everyone's face is unbelievable. This team battled so hard and it was so fun to be a part of." Bregman hit World Series home runs against arguably baseball's best starting and closing pitchers in Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen. Bregman became only the third player in baseball history to have an RBI in each of the first five games of the World Series. He had two go-ahead RBIs in the series, including the game-winner. "It was a crazy World Series and I am just lucky to be a part of it," said Bregman, who also knew the significance of winning for Houston after Hurricane Harvey. "We came together as a team and tried to cheer the city up. We were going to fight for them for the rest of the year. It is so special to bring this home to Houston." Astros center fielder George Springer was named the World Series Most Valuable Player after hitting home runs in four straight games, including the pivotal Game 7. "It's a dream come true and an honor," Springer said after the game. "This is all about our city and we are coming home champions." Houston also had great offensive contributions from likely regular season MVP Jose Altuve and shortstop Carlos Correa, who proposed to his girlfriend on live TV after the game. (She said Yes!) "This was one of the best World Series of all time," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We are a championship city. We are going to love bringing this World Series trophy back to Houston." After six great games, Game 7 began with perhaps the most famous Jewish baseball player of all time on the mound. Dodgers Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax threw out the ceremonial first pitch for the first ever Game 7 in Dodger Stadium history. Minutes later, the Astros jumped out to an early first-inning lead they would never relinquish. Bregman was right in the middle of the action, forcing an error on an infield ground ball, stealing third base and scoring Houston's second run. Bregman finished his first full year in the Major Leagues with 23 home runs and 81 runs batted in, including four long balls and 10 RBIs in the postseason. He hit two home runs against Red Sox ace Chris Sale in the American League Divisional Series and made the key defensive play in the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees. Fittingly, the Dodgers biggest offense in the World Series came from their Jewish star Joc Pederson, who had three home runs, three doubles and five RBIs against the Astros. His power was overshadowed by Springer, however, who blasted his fifth home run of the World Series to give Houston a 5-0 lead in the second inning Wednesday. Houston hung on from there, with the Astros pitching staff combining to shut the Dodgers down the rest of the game. The 2017 World Series will go down in history as one of the best of all time with dramatic lead changes, record-setting home runs and fireworks throughout. For Bregman, it made the young Jewish star a household name all over the country. "The two best teams in baseball were fighting to the very end," Bregman said. "It was special for us to come out on top."

Community Calendar

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 1:18pm
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1"?> CommunityCalendar Upcoming

Send event listings to [email protected], including contact person's name, phone number and email address. BEGINNING SUNDAY, OCT. 29

JLI's new six-week course, &quot;Great Debates in Jewish History,&quot; will be held at seven Houston-area locations. For locations and schedules, go to or contact a Chabad house near you.


Holocaust Museum Houston will honor Gregory L. Fenves, president of The University of Texas at Austin, and The University of Texas at Austin with the Guardian of the Human Spirit Award for their commitment to service and building an open-minded society. The museum's annual Guardian of the Hunan Spirit Luncheon will be held at Hilton Americas-Houston, 1600 Lamar St. For tickets, email [email protected] or call 713-527-1622.


Congregation Emanu El is moving Shabbat on the Green to Evelyn's Park. The entire community is invited to celebrate Shabbat with Emanu El. The group's staff contacts are Jill Patir, [email protected], 713-729-5771, ext. 262, and Jason Plotkin, [email protected], 713-535-6414.

The community is invited to attend a special Heritage Shabbat service, 6 p.m., in the Barish Sanctuary at Congregation Emanu El. The service will feature the music of composer Herman Berlinski, provided by Emanu El's professional choir, volunteer choir and organ. For information, contact Jason Plotkin at [email protected], or 713-529-5771.

SATURDAY, NOV. 4-SUNDAY, NOV. 5 A highlight of the Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book &amp; Arts Festival, Oliver Lapin Family Day starts 5 p.m., with a performance of &quot;Hanna's Sabbath Dress.&quot; Families may come for dinner and a show on Saturday night. Family Day continues Sunday, Nov. 5 For information or to purchase tickets, visit or contact [email protected]. SUNDAY, NOV. 5

Oliver Lapin Family Day, 9:15 a.m.-noon, at the Jewish Book &amp; Arts Festival. Featuring &quot;Hanna and the Moonlit Dress.&quot; Learn more at or call 713-729-3200.

Alexandra Zapruder, 7:30 p.m., at the Jewish Book &amp; Arts Festival. &quot;Twenty-Six Seconds: A Personal History of the Zapruder Film.&quot; Learn more at or call 713-729-3200.


Congregation Emanu El Becker School Open House For Prospective Families, 9:30 a.m., RSVP or for more information contact Judy Lazor, 713-535-6400 or [email protected].

Henrietta Szold Hadassah presents Marilyn Albert reviewing her most recent favorite book, at Marilyn's home, 11 a.m. RSVP to 713-726-8745.


Tavche Gravche in Concert, 8 p.m., at the Jewish Book &amp; Arts Festival. Learn more at or call 713-729-3200.

Dan Nadel, an Israeli-born New York-based guitarist and composer, brings his Balkan/Flamenco Ensemble to the J, 8 p.m., as part of this year's Ann &amp; Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book &amp; Arts Festival. Individual tickets and information available at

National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Houston Section, hosts its 29th annual gala, &quot;A Night in Old Havana,&quot; at 7 p.m., at the JSR Event Center, 2401 W. Bellfort Blvd. During the gala, Elyse and Lewis Kalmans are to be honored with the Faith and Humanity Award. For gala tickets, visit and for sponsorships, visit ncjwhouston.iorg/sponsor. Email [email protected] with questions about the gala.


Closing night with Steve Dorff at the Jewish Book &amp; Arts Festival, 7:30 p.m. &quot;I Wrote That One, Too: A Life in Songwriting from Willie to Whitney.&quot; Learn more at

The Friendship Circle of Houston's annual Walk will be held at the Houston Zoo, 1-4 p.m. The Friendship Circle aims to help children and teenagers with special needs. Teenagers who wish to be part of the Friendship Circle volunteer program are asked to visit

Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism hosts dozens of preferred vendors, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., who will be available to meet with Bar and Bat Mitzvah families. The event is free and open to the community. For information on vendors or attending the event, contact Hilary Kamin, [email protected] or 713-782-4162. HCRJ is located at 801 Bering St., between San Felipe and Woodway.


Harris L. &quot;Shrub&quot; Kempner Jr. and his late grandfather, Isaac &quot;Ike&quot; Kempner will be honored with the AJC Lifetime Achievement Award at the Hilton Post Oak Hotel, at the annual AJC dinner. Contact the AJC Houston office, 713-439-1202 or [email protected] to attend or make a contribution.

Kinneret Hadassah's 11th holiday bazaar, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at Congregation Shaar Hashalom, 16020 El Camino Real. Local vendors present gift items for the upcoming holidays and other occasions. Proceeds benefit Kinneret Hadassah's projects. The entire community is invited. For information, call Karen Taylor at 413-834-2020.


Hazak returns, featuring songs with Cantor Sharon Colbert at Congregation Brith Shalom. RSVP to 713-726-8745. Refreshments will be served.


The Czech Center Museum of Houston's exhibit, &quot;Vedem Underground &ndash; The Secret Magazine of The Terezin Ghetto.&quot; For information, visit


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 [email protected]

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 [email protected]

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 [email protected]

Senior ladies' poker, daytime, twice weekly, Monday and Thursday, at homes in the southwest and Stella Link areas. More players are sought. email [email protected], 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 [email protected] 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
[email protected].


IDF soldiers share stories, assist with flood relief

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 11:45am
Two Israeli army soldiers traveled to Houston to bolster flood-recovery efforts and to speak at a bilingual English-Spanish church about their military service. The soldiers gave a presentation at Gulf Meadows Church on Oct. 29, during an event co-sponsored by Israel-education organization StandWithUs; then spent the following day volunteering their time in the church's flood-supply center, helping to distribute aid to young families and seniors impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Speaking to church members, the soldiers explained how and why they chose to defend the Jewish homeland. The JHV agreed to use only the soldiers' first names, Kayla and Itamar, due to security. "I'm very proud to be American and Israeli," said Kayla, who grew up in Seattle and chose to make aliyah after high school graduation and to serve in the Israel Defense Forces as a lone soldier. "Being here feels like my two countries are combining in the best of ways," she told Houstonians. 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.

Security officer taught students 'cops are friends'

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 11:00am
The Shlenker School paid tribute to its security superintendent, Officer Bob Sampiere, who retired this year after two decades of service to the community. Children and parents described the former police helicopter pilot as a "member of the family," who kept the campus safe and made a special effort to befriend Shlenker families. Shlenker's parent association hosted a breakfast reception for Sampiere at the school on Oct. 20, while students expressed their thanks to "Officer Bob" during morning assembly. "Officer Bob, when I'm around you, I feel safe," said Hogan Zach, who spoke on behalf of Shlenker third-graders. "Whenever I walk into school, you always have something to tell me and it's usually funny," Hogan said. "You have been a great help to the school and to our community." Sydney Rubenstein represented Shlenker second-graders at the tribute. "I like how you encourage me and welcome me to the school," Sydney told Sampiere. "It makes me feel happy and ready to learn." She added, "I like how you tell me jokes. There is no one like you!" 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.

What happens now with the Iran deal

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 11:19am
WASHINGTON (JTA) - President Donald Trump has said what he wants Congress to do with the Iran nuclear deal, which he has called the worst in the world: Make it better. How does that happen? Is it possible to "fix" the deal without breaking it? Here's a breakdown of what Trump wants, what might happen and where the Jewish organizations, many of whom were fierce opponents of the original deal, are on the issue. What Trump wants The 2015 deal negotiated by the Obama administration, the European Union, Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China - with Iran - traded sanctions relief for a rollback of Iran's nuclear program. Trump can leave the deal whenever he wants: All he has to do is stop waiving - that is, restore - the sanctions removed by the deal. Top security advisers have talked Trump out of that option, saying it could damage the U.S. reputation. Instead, they have counseled him to decertify Iranian compliance with the agreement under a 2015 law passed by Congress as a means of overseeing the deal: the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, or INARA. Under the act, once Trump decertifies - he said he would do that in a White House speech on Friday - Congress has 60 days to reimpose sanctions. But the White House is not asking Congress to reimpose the sanctions. Rather the president wants new legislation, through an amended INARA or through a new law, that would effectively reshape the deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Trump wants the new laws to override provisions of the deal, including the so-called sunset clauses that lift restrictions and allow Iran to enrich fissile material beginning within the next decade. Trump wants a law that would keep U.S. sanctions in place should Iran remove the restrictions, even though the sunset clauses allow them to do so. In another instance, the deal includes a complex and relatively lengthy procedure for International Atomic Energy Agency nuclear inspectors to visit sites not covered by the deal. Trump wants a law that would reimpose sanctions unless Iran agrees to simplify the procedure. Trump said Friday in outlining the policy that if he's not happy with the outcome, he would pull out of the deal. "In the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated," he said. "It is under continuous review, and our participation can be canceled by me, as president, at any time." What happens next, congressional version Two prominent Republicans in the U.S. Senate, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Bob Corker of Tennessee, are shaping legislation according to Trump's specifications. The legislation is still being drafted, but Corker last week released a summary of the proposal. "The legislation automatically reimposes sanctions if Iran's nuclear program violates certain restrictions," the summary said. "These restrictions remain in force indefinitely, effectively ridding the JCPOA of its sunset provisions as they apply to U.S. sanctions; bolster IAEA verification powers; and limit Iran's advanced centrifuge program." Enacting the bill as it stands now is unlikely. Advancing the legislation requires 60 backers in the Senate, as none of the 48 Democrats in the body of 100 are likely to get on board. Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said as much, referring to statements by Trump's top military advisers, who oppose killing the deal despite its flaws. "The @SenateDems agree with (Secretary of Defense James) Mattis and (chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) General (Joseph) Dunford," Schumer said on Twitter after Trump announced his decision. "We won't allow the Iran deal to be undone." What happens next, international version The likelier way forward would involve not Congress but U.S. allies who signed on to the deal. This would involve increasing pressure on Iran outside the context of the nuclear deal, which Trump could claim as an improvement. The three European governments that signed the deal released a statement Friday saying they opposed rupturing the pact, but were eager to squeeze Iran for its other malign activities, including missile testing and military adventurism. "We stand ready to take further appropriate measures to address these issues in close cooperation with the U.S. and all relevant partners," the statement from the governments of Britain, Germany and France said. Trump in his own remarks suggested he was open to that route. "I urge our allies to join us in taking strong actions to curb Iran's continued dangerous and destabilizing behavior, including thorough sanctions outside the Iran Deal that target the regime's ballistic missile program, in support for terrorism, and all of its destructive activities, of which there are many," he said. Where is the pro-Israel camp? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is enthusiastic about Trump's proposal, especially the prospect of killing the deal outright should the Iranians not play ball. Among international leaders, only the Saudis share Netanyahu's enthusiasm. "I believe that any responsible government, and whoever seeks to promote peace and security in the world, needs to take advantage of the opportunity that President Trump's decision has created in order to improve the agreement or abrogate it and, of course, stop Iran's aggression," the Israeli leader said Sunday in remarks opening his weekly Cabinet meeting. The centrist pro-Israel community is less sanguine. Like Schumer and other Democrats who opposed the original deal, there is a sense among pro-Israel groups that breaching the deal would damage America's ability to affect Iranian behavior by reducing U.S. credibility among allies. Instead, the major groups urged collaboration by Congress, the administration and U.S. allies to address flaws while keeping the deal intact. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee welcomed Trump's speech, but emphasized that he was not proposing ending the deal, at least for now. "The president made clear his view of the deficiencies in the JCPOA, but he also indicated that the United States is not withdrawing from the accord at this time," AIPAC said in a statement. "Instead, he called upon Congress and our allies to work together to address the deal's problematic sunset clauses, the lack of sufficient inspections, and the danger posed by Iran's ballistic missile program." An AIPAC official told JTA that it was too early to assess whether the group would back the Corker-Cotton bill, as a final version was not yet released. David Harris, the American Jewish Committee's executive director, said in a post on the group's site that it wasn't useful to relitigate earlier political battles over the deal. "At this point in time, whatever earlier views were, it is absolutely essential that the Administration, Congress, and our key allies in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia work as collaboratively as possible on the Iran threat," Harris said. Jonathan Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League's national director, said rupturing the agreement now could destabilize the region. His group, like the AJC, opposed the deal. "A reimposition of sanctions and an unraveling of the deal would not only have a negative impact on America's international leadership and foreign affairs priorities, but could bring immediate threats from Iran," Greenblatt wrote on Medium. "But there is an opportunity now to reset the terms of this debate." J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, urged Congress to reject any attempt to amend the deal. "Congress does not need to be an accomplice in Trump's plan to unravel the Iran deal," the group said in a statement. "They can stand up against a course of action that could lead to an unconstrained Iranian nuclear program or another war in the Middle East." On the right, the Zionist Organization of America, in a post by its president, Morton Klein, in advance of Trump's speech, opposed keeping the deal in place. "The only things likely to slow Iran is pressure, including and especially renewed sanctions," Klein wrote. Decertifying the JCPOA but keeping the United States "in this deeply flawed agreement," he added, "is illogical and useless."

Texas women gather at Greene Family Camp

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 2:05pm
More than three dozen woman gathered from all over Texas and surrounding states to participate in the inaugural annual Women's Weekend at URJ Greene Family Camp in Bruceville, Texas. The goal of the retreat, Oct. 13-15, was for women of all ages to come together, pray together and find peace together. Activities included arts and crafts, nature walks, services, campfires, wine tasting and maj jong. The event was planned by GFC assistant director Emily Caulfield and her team.

Israelis can't use country's flag in Abu Dhabi judo tournament

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:43pm
Israeli judokas participating in the Grand Slam event in Abu Dhabi will not be able to compete under their country's flag. The team will be prevented from wearing the Israeli flag or any other national emblems on their uniform, including the designation ISR for Israel, and if they win a place on the podium they will not hear their national anthem, "Hatikvah," the AFP news agency reported. Instead, they will be identified as competing as part of the International Judo Federation, or IJF. Twelve Israelis are slated to participate in the tournament being held later this month in the United Arab Emirates, an Arab country with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations. Among Israel's delegation will be Or Sasson, who won a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016. During those games, Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby refused to shake hands with Sasson. "The demand to appear without national symbols is contrary to the mandate of international sports associations, the main aim of which is to separate politics from sport, and strengthen sport as a bridge and connection between peoples, cultures and countries," Miri Regev, Israel's minister of culture and sport, wrote in a letter to the International Judo Federation's president, Marius Vizer. Eight Israelis competed under similar conditions during the same event held two years ago in Abu Dhabi.

Anya Rose Edelman

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 12:58pm
Anya Rose Edelman will be called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah during a Havdalah service at Congregation Beth Israel on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. Anya is the daughter of Karen & Mark Edelman, and the sister of Jared. Her grandparents are Lynn Edelman and the late Darryl Edelman, and Diane Lapidus and the late Hal Lapidus, all of Houston. Anya was originally planning to have her Bat Mitzvah on Saturday, September 2, 2017, but she was forced to cancel due to Hurricane Harvey and the devastating floods. She is excited that her family and friends from near and far are now able to be with her to celebrate this special occasion. Anya is a 7th grade student at The Joy School and participates on her school's Fencing Team and serves on the Leadership Council. For her mitzvah projects, she joined the Friendship Circle of Houston's teen leadership program and provided kids with developmental & physical disabilities social interaction opportunities and support through friendship. She also participated in Jewish Family Services' Shabbat Box program. Anya loved making and decorating boxes filled with Shabbat treats, which were distributed to Jewish patients at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. She also participated in The First Ward is Blooming upcycling art project by recycling & decorating plastic drink bottles which were used to construct an art mural on display in Houston's First Ward. In memory of her grandfathers, Anya will be donating a portion of her gift money to The American Cancer Society. She is also donating a portion to The Joy School's scholarship program so that other Houston-area kids with learning differences can benefit from a Joy School education.

Jewish camp in California ravaged by forest fire

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 12:23pm
(JTA) - Much of a Reform Jewish summer camp has been wiped out by forest fires sweeping across Northern California. The Union for Reform Judaism's Camp Newman, an hour north of the San Francisco Bay, has been "mostly destroyed" by the fires burning in Sonoma and Napa counties, the camp posted on Facebook. Camp staff has yet to be able to visit the area. Camp is not in session, and everyone living at the campsite - along with its Torah scrolls - was rescued before the fires reached the camp. At least 10 people have died in the forest fires that blazed across the area Monday, Oct. 9. At least 15 fires are burning in eight counties. Some 20,000 people have evacuated their homes and 1,500 buildings have been destroyed. "As many of you may have heard, since 10 p.m. last night, forest fires have been burning in Sonoma and Napa counties," the camp's post read. "It is with tremendous shock and sadness that we share that the majority of the buildings at our beloved Camp Newman home have been destroyed." The camp moved to the site in 1997, and dedicated a $4 million building last year, according to J., the Jewish News of Northern California. It serves 1,400 children. In a Facebook post, the camp advised area residents in need of water or power to visit a nearby Reform synagogue, Congregation Shomrei Torah. "Most importantly, we take great comfort in knowing that all of our staff are safe," the post said. "We are so grateful to the first responders and firefighters who attempted to save our camp buildings. We are keeping these heroic and hardworking people in our thoughts and prayers as they continue to work to protect the people and the places in our Camp Newman neighborhood, for whom we will continue to pray."


Wed, 10/11/2017 - 2:31am
Herbert George Muhlbauer, age 90, passed away after a long illness on Oct. 9, 2017. He leaves his wife of 69 years, Marilyn (Kirshenbaum) Muhlbauer; his sister, Dvorah Pardess; his four children, Jan Muhlbauer (Nancy), Robin Fleschler (Sammy), Michael Muhlbauer (Jenny), and Laurie Turner (Eric); his nine grandchildren and their wonderful spouses, Sarah, Aaron, Zachary, Melissa (Marty), Heather, Lindsay (Johnny), Michael Clayton, Anna (Michael), and Cate; and eleven great-grandchildren, Spencer, Jackson, Sampson, Julianna, Aaron, Sophie, Harlow, Henry, Ava, Cooper and Caleb. Mr. Muhlbauer was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Jan. 20, 1927, to Max and Anna Muhlbauer (Teeman). In his early years, he helped his father, who ran a grocery store, and it was there where he developed his love for cats who lived in the store to ward off mice. As a young boy, he learned to play the violin. He was reared Orthodox, where the boys used to compete for opportunities to chant from the Torah. After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1943, he was admitted to the prestigious Cooper Union College, the only tuition-free college in the U.S. His studies were interrupted when he joined the U.S Navy for two years. Upon returning from the Navy, he completed his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, followed by a master's degree from the University of Delaware, where he also became an expert bridge player. Herbert met his wife Marilyn through his sister, Devorah, while he was in the Navy. They corresponded through letters and initiated a long-distance relationship. Upon returning from the Navy, he spent long hours on the subway from Brooklyn to the Bronx to visit Marilyn where she lived. They married on July 3, 1948. The couple moved to Austin, Texas, in 1949 where they lived for 60 years. In Austin, Herbert began his career at Jefferson Chemical Company, where he worked for 33 years. He was an excellent teacher, gardener and particularly enjoyed helping his children with their homework, and, in later years, taking over parenting responsibilities when Marilyn began working full-time. Throughout his life, Herbert embraced Judaism and Jewish learning, and was a scholar of the Torah. He attended synagogue weekly, where he enjoyed the prayers and listening to Jewish music. He relished leading the Passover Seder and having Friday night dinners. He chanted the Torah every Shabbat and every High Holidays, and also the Megillah on Purim. He was known to have the most beautiful chanting voice. Upon retiring at age 55, he continued to fulfil his love of learning by auditing classes in Judaic studies, Greek and Arabic at The University of Texas at Austin. He also tutored children studying for their Bar/Bat Mitzvot. He and Marilyn enjoyed ushering and attended Broadway shows, symphonies, plays and the movies. He will be dearly missed by his family.

Harlem Globetrotters coming to Shlenker to lift children's spirits amid Harvey cleanup

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 6:39pm
Members of the Harlem Globetrotters are coming to a Jewish day school in Houston that opened its doors to other community schools displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Globetrotters Moose Weeks and Flip White are coming to Houston on Tuesday morning, Sept. 19, where they will host a basketball exhibition for children at The Shlenker School. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Shlenker and Congregation Beth Israel carved out space in their facilities to host more than a dozen classes from Bertha Alyce Early Childhood Center and Beth Yeshurun Day School, while repairs are being made to the latters' flood-damaged buildings. A former Shlenker student, Aryn Bryant, is senior marketing director for the Harlem Globetrotters. Bryant saw what Shlenker was doing for families impacted by Hurricane Harvey. She made arrangements for the pair of Globetrotters to visit children at the school to help lift spirits as Houstonians face a long road toward recovery. Meanwhile, the Globetrotters are partnering with the American Red Cross to raise funds for Harvey relief. Every donation of $10 offers a chance to win a Harlem Globetrotters VIP trip for four to Hawaii, Oct. 12-16, 2017. The contest ends Sept. 19. To enter, visit

'This is our community, it's not for sale,' say flood-impacted residents

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 3:30pm
Fears of a potential FEMA buyout program would be more devastating to Houston's Jewish community than Hurricane Harvey's floodwaters, according to community members who live near Brays Bayou and have suffered heavy losses during multiple flooding events, including Harvey. "If FEMA engages in a widespread buyout program, which we're reading about in news reports, it would decimate these Jewish neighborhoods," said Rabbi Barry Gelman from United Orthodox Synagogues, which now has flooded three times in three years. "Our main worry is how such a program will negatively impact the long-term viability of our community," Rabbi Gelman told the JHV. On Friday morning, Sept. 15, Rabbi Gelman and other leaders from UOS gave U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz a tour of their synagogue, which took in 5 feet of floodwater during Harvey. Sen. Cruz also visited flood-damaged homes in the surrounding Willow Meadows neighborhood and met with homeowners, who asked the Republican lawmaker to help dissuade FEMA from buyouts in their area. "About 200 of the 320 families at UOS live within walking distance of the temple," UOS member Steven Mitzner told Sen. Cruz. "For those of us here, we need to live here." Between 150 and 200 UOS families, including Rabbi Gelman's, suffered flood damage from Harvey, according to initial assessments. Most, if not all, of those residents also lost vehicles during the flood. If UOS were forced to move somewhere else, Houston's only Modern Orthodox synagogue likely would lose 50 percent of its membership, UOS leaders warned. Amy Goldstein, who helps lead an emergency response team in Willow Meadows, noted that a FEMA buyout program in the area would raise legal concerns. JHV: MICHAEL C. DUKE

Thousands of religious books and ritual items, destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, have been piled up behind United Orthodox Synagogues, awaiting burial in accordance with Jewish law.

"There's a First Amendment issue with the government telling people you can't go to this synagogue," Goldstein said. "There's not a comparable synagogue in this city. There are different Orthodox synagogues, but UOS is unique." Sen. Cruz told UOS leaders that he will reach out to senior officials with FEMA to "start a conversation" regarding FEMA's buyout intentions. "We're happy to help any way we can," said Sen. Cruz, acknowledging the need expressed by UOS members and Willow Meadows residents to stay in the neighborhood. He added, "The same spirit of unity and resolve of purpose that got us through Harvey will get us through rebuilding." According to reports, Harris County Flood Control is actively pursuing the necessary federal funding to proceed with Harvey-related home buyouts. FEMA, in turn, would condemn those properties, it's believed, and convert the land to retention areas. UOS members said such a plan would be a "doomsday scenario" for Houston's Jewish community - nearly 70 percent of whom live near Brays Bayou in Southwest Houston. "If FEMA is going to give X amount of dollars to a family to buy them out, why not instead give that money to the family, so they can raise their house, which would solve the problem and save this community, which has been here for 100 years," Rabbi Gelman said. As for UOS, itself, synagogue leaders said their intention is to build a new building on the existing property that would be better situated to avoid flood damage. "We don't know about structural damage [from Harvey], but the truth is, we don't intend to find out," Rabbi Gelman told Sen. Cruz. "The real push, now, is to build a new building on our property ... so the synagogue doesn't flood. "G-d forbid, if the neighborhood floods again, the [new] synagogue will be in a position to help people, instead of needing help, itself," the rabbi said. In the meantime, UOS members and volunteers, including students from Yeshiva University, have been making repairs to UOS' social hall in time for Rosh Hashanah, which begins Wednesday evening, Sept. 20. Even though UOS' Freedman Hall was built 4½ feet higher than the synagogue's original building, it still took in more than a foot of floodwater during Harvey. "Freedman Hall has been remediated, cleaned and disinfected, and sheetrock has been torn out and replaced," Rabbi Gelman reported on Sept. 15. "We're going to be a one-room schoolhouse, now, for a long time." After visiting UOS, Sen. Cruz met with Willow Meadows residents in their flood-damaged homes, some of which took in as much as 7 feet of water after Harvey caused Brays Bayou to crest on Sunday morning, Aug. 27. Residents, whose homes now have flooded three times in three years, told Sen. Cruz that the latest ordeal has been particularly hard on their children. They also reported that there is a huge discrepancy among flood insurance payouts given to comparable houses and losses. "It appears totally arbitrary and dependent upon the sensibility of an individual adjuster," Goldstein told the JHV. Goldstein, who works with elected officials on disaster-recovery projects, said government can play a beneficial role by standardizing the process. She also expressed the need for better oversight regarding mortgage forbearance. "Fannie Mae issued guidelines, but it appears that it's still up to the servicer on whether or not homeowners will be hit with a balloon payment after three months of forbearance," Goldstein said. "People will be hit with a balloon payment on top of having to pay rent for their temporary living situations, which, in some cases, is more than their mortgage payments." Many Harvey-impacted community members, who live in Willow Meadows and the Meyerland area, told the JHV that they want to rebuild and stay together as a community, yet fear the possibility of that option being taken away, should FEMA enforce a buyout program for their area. "What is the long-term future of this community, which has medical professionals and energy professionals and business people and lawyers, school teachers, plumbers and electricians?" Rabbi Gelman said. "It's diverse, religiously. It's diverse economically. That's a big question mark that looms large. "It's really important for us to stick together and try to help each other through this," Rabbi Gelman said.

Children's event, post-Harvey

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 11:18am
Bring your children to the Jewish Children's Party & Unity Rally on Sunday, Sept. 17, 12:30-2:30 p.m. The bash will be held at the Main Event Stafford, 12626 Fountain Lake Circle, in Stafford, Texas. FREE for first 100 to register here here. For ages up to 13, includes all you can play: laser tag, bowling, gravity ropes, billiards and shuffleboard. Prizes for every pre-registered child. A project of Chabad Harvey Relief.

BYDS kindergarten, EC classes resume after Harvey

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 5:25pm
If it weren't for different surroundings and some new teaching materials, one could hardly tell that Beth Yeshurun Day School was displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Children from BYDS' kindergarten and early childhood programs resumed classes on Wednesday morning, Sept. 13, on the joint campus of Beth Israel synagogue and The Shlenker School. A week earlier, BYDS' elementary school started back in classrooms provided by The Emery/Weiner School. BYDS' building suffered flood damage from Harvey, though new drywall already was being installed in the building on Sept. 12 to enable the school to return home as soon as possible. School and Congregation Beth Yeshurun leaders agreed that the day school's building should be given priority as the rest of the flood-damaged campus undergoes repairs. "It's much better here than I expected," said Bonnie Suchart, a BYDS pre-K 4 teacher, whose classroom is one of 10 located for the time being in Beth Israel's expansive Wolff-Toomim Social Hall. Each class has its own space in the hall, delineated by a series of partitions. Teachers said they did their best to replicate their original classrooms. They received new teaching materials to replace those lost to Harvey's floodwaters. Portable hand-washing stations and water coolers also were installed. Shlenker, meanwhile, is hosting BYDS' kindergarten classes. Welcome banners and school leaders greeted BYDS families on Wednesday morning. "Looking at the smiles on kids' faces, you'd never know we've been through so much," Suchart told the JHV on the first day back to school. "Parents seemed happy this morning, and those who came to our open house yesterday to check out the space also were very happy." Benjamin Rosenfeld is a BYDS pre-K student who described his temporary classroom as "good." JHV: MICHAEL C. DUKE

Partitions were installed in Beth Israel's social hall to accommodate 10 BYDS early childhood classes that were displaced by Hurricane Harvey.

"It's the same school, only in a different place," Benjamin told the JHV as he decorated a paper crown in celebration of his recent fifth birthday. "We even have our calendar on the wall and a calendar helper gets to do it every day," he said. While the large social hall has less natural lighting than BYDS enjoys back home, teachers said the children had no problem adjusting. With so many classes sharing space, however, the noise level can present a challenge, teachers noted. There's also a logistical challenge for the school's hosts. Every Friday, Beth Israel's social hall has to be cleared for use by the congregation, then set back up again on Sunday for the next school week. "Everything in every classroom space is numbered, and we have pictures of how everything should look, so it shouldn't be too much of an issue getting it all set back up again," Suchart said. "The children and teachers are just happy to be back," she added. BYDS teachers and parents, alike, expressed gratitude to Congregation Beth Israel, The Shlenker School and The Emery/Weiner School for opening their campuses to BYDS and making their guests feel welcome, they told the JHV. Besides BYDS, Shlenker also is hosting classes from the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC's Bertha Alyce Early Childhood Center, whose building also suffered flood damage from Hurricane Harvey.