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 41 min ago

Seven Acres volunteer mixes history lesson with cookie class

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 9:51am
....Seven Acres new volunteer cooking teacher is native Australian Ellie Stanton, who comes on Tuesdays to coordinate a cooking program for residents. The program takes place in the kitchen area of the craft room. On one recent Tuesday, she chose to bake Anzac cookies with the residents. Stanton explained that Anzac cookies go back to World War I, when folks back home baked special cookies for the soldiers. "Volunteers also worked rolling bandages and knitting socks for the soldiers," she said. "The cookies, or biscuits as we call them, were sent to the soldiers in the trenches to provide moral support. To this day, we celebrate Anzac Day to remember the sacrifices Australian and New Zealander soldiers made in all the wars. I remember baking these when I was a little girl. The ingredients of these cookies are flour, butter, sugar, nuts and coconut." Anzac is the acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. It is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, that commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations, and contribution and suffering of all those who have served. Anzac Day is April 25. Stanton's cooking class is made up of an international group of residents, all of whom remember the sacrifices soldiers and civilians, alike, made all over the world in World War II. Countries represented in the cooking class are Israel, South Africa, Romania, China, Slovakia, Belize and America. The class is looking forward to Purim, when residents will bake hamantaschen with Stanton.


Wed, 02/13/2019 - 10:20am
Mara Schlader Greenberg passed away on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. She is survived by her son, Matt; her daughter, Kara; her grandchildren, Skylar and Rory; her sister and brother-in-law, Ann and Jeff Cummins; and her brothers, Rusty and Jerry Schlader. Mara was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Nov. 11, 1948, to Jerome and Evelyn Schlader. She attended The University of Texas in Austin and was a member of Sigma Delta Tau sorority. She moved to Houston after she graduated. Mara retired from teaching high school marketing to Summit County, Colo. in June 2010. She lived in Keystone with her partner, Sammy Toys. A former high school educator in financial services, bank marketing officer, sales professional and nonprofit director, she brought much experience to Summit County. She enjoyed the outdoors and volunteering in Colorado. One of her favorite volunteering jobs was at the front desk at the senior center, which she did every Friday. She really enjoyed the great staff and members she had come to know. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The American Lung Association, Holocaust Museum Houston or The Shaw Cancer Center in Colorado. A memorial service will be held Thursday February 21, 2019, 11:00 a.m. at Congregation Emanu El.

NFTY conclave shows teens impact of Hurricane Harvey

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 2:10pm
....In fall 2017, Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism was scheduled to host a conclave for youth from across the Texas/Oklahoma region. This special gathering of Reform Jewish teens was originally programmed around Noah's Ark (which was the parasha of the week). Ironically, Hurricane Harvey flooded the city two months before the conclave could be realized, and the event literally was rained out. Instead of hosting a conclave that year, HCRJ and NFTY put on a smaller event, which focused on post-Harvey disaster relief. The event was a powerful experience for the participants, but the desire to hold a student-led conclave remained strong in the hearts of HCRJ's youth group, HOUSTY. A new date was selected for a winter conclave in 2019. The newly re-imagined conclave took place Jan. 25-27, and it was a huge success. The theme for the weekend was "A Force of Nature." It was designed to immerse participants in parts of Houston which had been under water during Harvey. In this setting on the bayou, students had opportunities to explore how natural disasters impact nature, animals and communities. A creative Shabbat worship journey took place along Buffalo Bayou near downtown, stopping in various locations which had been devastated. At the end of the surreptitious Sabbath stroll, everyone had opportunities to engage with snakes, alligators, tortoises, bees and other animals that would have been significantly impacted by floodwaters. The programming for this conclave was done by the students of Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism and the director of Youth Engagement, Michelle Renfrow. The social and educational events were directed by Eleanor Spain. The worship for the weekend was under the musical direction of Zoey Weinstein. "These teens worked so hard to generate an amazing experience," said Rabbi Steve Gross, "I cannot be prouder of what they created, and I am extremely grateful that the weather cooperated. The combination of creative programming and great weather enabled the conclave to be everything these young leaders hoped it could be. It was really an amazing weekend." In addition to the programming around natural disasters, a parallel program for teen song leaders took place at the synagogue. This intensive song leader's workshop was led by Jewish musician and educator Alan Goodis. This unique leadership program brought teens from across North America together to explore creative ways to engage the next generation in musical liturgy. Teens led a number of worship services throughout the weekend, including a Sunday morning worship assembly for the Sunday school. In all, the Winter Conclave provided an extraordinary opportunity to develop leadership, and brought youth together in fun, dynamic ways. Also, it was a great way to bring multiple generations in the congregation together, as members housed teens in their homes, helped with meals and provided transportation. The synagogue was bursting at the seams throughout the weekend for nearly 100 teens from all over the region.

Jewish star Julian Edelman earns Super Bowl MVP

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 9:34am
....Wide receiver Julian Edelman was named Most Valuable Player as the New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. The Patriots' Jewish owner, Robert Kraft, also earned a kiss on the lips from quarterback Tom Brady as their team celebrated its 13-3 victory - New England's sixth Super Bowl triumph. Edelman provided some of the rare offensive highlights in a torpid defensive game with a game-high 10 catches for 141 yards. Eight of those receptions led to first-downs, keeping the ball out of the hands of the Rams' potent young quarterback, Jared Goff. Edelman, 32, is one of only a few Jewish players in the league, embracing that side of his identity over time. He has a Jewish father but was not raised in the religion, and through the Patriots front office often would defer on questions about his religion. His is the quintessential surprise story: Undersized at 5-10 and less than 200 pounds, without blazing speed and coming from Kent State - not exactly Alabama - Edelman was picked toward the end of the last round of the 2009 draft. He didn't establish himself as a standout until the 2013 season. Coincidentally or not, it was during his breakout year that Edelman identified as Jewish in an interview with the NFL Network. Since then, he has shown his Jewish pride on a number of occasions. In a 2014 game, for instance, he wore a pin featuring the Israeli flag. He has tweeted about Jewish holidays. He even went on a Birthright-style trip to Israel, and has written a children's book that references modern-day Zionism founder Theodor Herzl. After the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in the fall that killed 11, he wore special cleats with Hebrew on them to honor the victims. Edelman has become renowned in large part because of his clutch performances in the playoffs. He has made a series of memorable catches, including one in the 2017 Super Bowl that ranks among the wildest in championship games. Edelman also has the second most postseason receptions of all time. Edelman has three seasons of over 90 receptions and two seasons of more than 1,000 receiving yards. Kraft is the latest recipient of the Genesis Prize, given to a Jewish leader or celebrity who serve "as an inspiration to the next generation of Jews through their outstanding professional achievement along with their commitment to Jewish values and the Jewish people."


Thu, 01/24/2019 - 10:33am
The unveiling of the headstone, in loving memory of Herbert George Muhlbauer, will be held on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, at 2 p.m. at the Beth Yeshurun Allen Parkway Cemetery, 3502 Allen Parkway, Houston, Texas. Rabbi Steven Morgen will officiate.

Jews march for King today, 'creating bridges, not barriers'

Wed, 01/23/2019 - 3:51pm
...."When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism." The quotation is one of a dozen on 1,700 flyers handed to viewers along the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade route, by members and friends of the Houston Jewish Alliance for Civil Rights. The statement was made by Dr. King in 1968, when responding to an anti-Zionist remark by a student at Harvard University. The Jewish Alliance was among nearly 200 groups marching in Houston's parade on Monday, Jan. 21. Its participation was organized by activist Ira Bleiweiss and Congregation Or Ami's Rabbi Gideon Estes. While the weather was in the breezy 50s and 60s, the Jewish group received a warm reception from adults and children, alike, along the parade route. Seeing the banner, held by Michael Moore and Kevin Taylor, as well as U.S., Texas and Israeli flags, onlookers often rushed Alliance members who gave out Israeli flags. By the end of the parade, 600 flags had been given to parade viewers, who recognize the positive relationship Jews had with Dr. King and continue to have with today's black community. "It was very important for the Jewish community to make a showing in the parade this year," Bleiweiss told the JHV. "To reach out to the black community, as well as to remind our own Jewish community of our long involvement in civil rights. In this age, when there may be more of a rift developing between our communities, people must recognize we have a common goal in standing up to haters and those who would do us harm because we are different." Bleiweiss, along with his wife Wendy, and their dear friend, Malka Levy, have organized Jewish groups and marched in past parades. This year, Bleiweiss reached out to Rabbi Estes, who is head of the Houston Rabbinical Association, to reach a broader audience. "My group is the only Jewish group that has ever appeared in the Martin Luther King parade," Bleiweiss said. "And, we do so because we want to help fight anti-Semitism. And, one way to do that is by reaching out to the people in the street to let them know our shared involvement in battling hatred." Rabbi Estes told the JHV, "It's incredibly important that this is a broad coalition of the entire Jewish community, saying to the broader Houston community that we care about what Martin Luther King's life symbolized and that we stand in solidarity with all people and working for the betterment of all people. And, to have a chance to remind people of the deep history of the Jewish community, standing side by side with the African-American community, in the pursuit of civil rights. We stand together and we hope to continue that history into the present ... and help promote togetherness and tolerance for all people here in Houston, and celebrate the amazingness of being the most diverse city in America." Congregation Beth Yeshurun's Senior Rabbi Brian Strauss also marched with the Alliance. "It's great to see so many members of our Jewish community here, to remind all of us of the alliance between our Jewish community and our African-American community ... that we have so many similarities, and we have a lot to work to continue to push for civil rights here in this country." Sarah Yonas, one of the regional directors for BBYO in Central and South Texas, was among a small group of young adults, representing BBYO and J-Serve. She was happy to be supporting the Jewish community, along with several teens. Makayla Wigder is a Bellaire High School student. "I am representing BBYO, J-Serve and Kehillah High," she told the JHV. "... I'm very happy to be celebrating all the diversity in our area and on Martin Luther King Day. What better way than to celebrate the advancements made in our society than by coming and showing our pride in our community." Rosalie Weisfeld is from McAllen, Texas, but will be moving to Houston soon. "Civil alliances have always been very important to me," she said. I think that we're stronger together. So, the Jewish community, having a part in Martin Luther King Day sends a signal that we want to be a part of this greater community. I'm here to participate as a Jew, as a Texan, as a member of this world." Weisfeld said it was especially important to participate in the parade because of what is going on along the Texas-Mexico border. "I think globally, not locally," she said, "and I think it's important for us to show that we're supportive of people from all walks of life, from all places on the earth. And, in McAllen ... it's ground zero. President [Donald] Trump was just there talking about a wall. I'm 10 minutes from the border. I was born and reared there. I feel perfectly safe. ... As a taxpayer, I'd rather see the money go to education and to enhance the lives of the people of the United States, not towards creating barriers. To me, this march is symbolic of creating bridges and not barriers." Another participant had similar feelings. "I think it's important for Jews to show solidarity with anyone who is oppressed in the world," said Ken Arnold. "It's important that we show our support to people who are seeking asylum in this country, since for me, my grandparents came here seeking asylum." Lisa Stone works at the Anti-Defamation League. "I'm here because ADL is closed, in respect, and to honor Martin Luther King, and I'm very glad to be part of this, because Jews and blacks need to keep working together." Members of the Alliance all agreed that their message of supporting Dr. King's legacy was well-received by the downtown crowds. Moreover, people along the parade route already were asking Bleiweiss about participating next year.

Texas congressman trying to stop lawmaker trip to West Bank

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 1:27pm
....A Republican lawmaker from Texas is trying to prevent freshman congresswoman Rashida Tlaib from leading a delegation of freshman lawmakers to the West Bank. The trip, led by Tlaib, who is Palestinian American, would be held at the same time as the traditional Israel mission for first-term lawmakers, sponsored by the education arm of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, which includes touring and meetings with leading Israeli figures in business, government and the military. Rep. Brian Babin said in a letter dated Jan. 17 to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and circulated to fellow members of Congress that the taxpayer-funded trip led by "an outspoken supporter of the 'BDS' Israeli boycott movement and whose personal vitriol led her to publicly brag about calling our President a "mother****er" to her young son, is both ill-conceived and inconsistent with our national values." He said that Israel is "of vital importance to U.S. interests in the Middle East," and that a trip of lawmakers exclusively to the West Bank "threatens that relationship. To signal to our most threatened ally in the region that the United States Congress sanctions an official trip to visit Israel's nemesis would be an exceedingly dangerous path forward." "Please consider the damage that a yet unexperienced and overly caustic Member of Congress may cause to Israeli relations, or the perceptions of our own Jewish-American citizens," he also wrote. Tlaib has called the AIPAC-sponsored trip "one-sided." She said she would take lawmakers to the northern West Bank village of Beit Ur al-Foqa, where her grandmother lives.

How the Forward ran low on cash - and miracles - before ending its print edition and laying off its top editors

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 8:57am
NEW YORK - A decade ago, the publisher of the Jewish Daily Forward asked his board to believe in miracles. "We are supposed to believe in miracles; we are forbidden to rely on them, " Sam Norich wrote in an email to the board of the Forward Association on Dec. 25, 2008. "That means that miracles only happen if we do our part to help them along." And according to the attached minutes of a November 2008 board meeting, the venerable Jewish newspaper could have used a little divine intervention in the thick of the financial crisis. Just six years removed from selling its radio signal for a reported $78 million, the Forward began that September with $63 million in invested assets. By the end of the month, as the stock market plummeted, that number had dropped even further, to $54 million - a $9 million loss within 30 days. A couple months later, the board would discover that it lost $355,000 in Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. But Norich had good news: Months earlier, the Forward had appointed a new editor, Jane Eisner. Norich called Eisner, an alumna of the Philadelphia Inquirer, a "phenomenal professional with very high aspirations." Her appointment, he said, "augurs well for the future of the Forward." Ten years later, the picture looks grimmer: On Wednesday, news broke that after 121 years, the Forward would be ceasing its print edition and laying off 10 people - 20 percent of its staff - including Jane Eisner. "Today was a tough day," Rachel Fishman Feddersen, the Forward's publisher since 2016, wrote to the newsroom in an email on Thursday that did not mention Eisner or any of the other laid-off staff by name. For years, the Forward has been running a loss of about $5 million per year, financial documents show. In 2015, the Forward transferred the vast majority of its assets to a new, separate nonprofit called the Forward Fund, which allowed the publication to protect its assets in case of a debilitating libel suit. The Forward Fund's records show a 2016 drop in net assets from $44.3 million to $38.5 million. In 2017, the Forward's annual report shows that it broke even by virtue of $4.9 million in "Funds drawn from investment accounts." Neither the Forward Association nor the Fund made its 2017 financial records available to JTA. But Feddersen told JTA that at the end of 2017 the Forward Fund had $37,728,140 in the bank. (Norich, who was the Forward's publisher from 1997 to 2016, declined to comment to JTA, as did Jacob Morowitz, the chair of the Forward's board. Mark Mlotek and Ron Sernau, the current and past board treasurers, did not return calls seeking comment.) "We are making many changes at the company, and that comes with saying goodbye to some treasured colleagues," Fedderson wrote. "And that hurts." The death of the Forward's print edition, and the slashes to its masthead, cap off decades of financial bleeding at one of the country's most storied Jewish newspapers. And they usher in an era of uncertainty at a publication that has helped define the American Jewish experience - and hold its institutions accountable - since the beginning of the 20th century. "The mood was tense and the remaining management didn't seem to have a clear plan for what happens next," a staff member who wished to remain anonymous wrote to JTA of the atmosphere in the office Thursday. Feddersen told JTA that the changes were a necessary pivot toward the way people consume news now, enabling the publication to maintain its reporting standards while staying financially stable. She said that the organization had been losing money since the middle of the last century. "Running a media business is really expensive," she told JTA in a phone interview Thursday. "The Forward has been running at a loss since 1945 and it has supported itself by selling off assets... There was always a commitment to a quality of journalism that fulfilled our mission." One cost the publication has paid recently is Norich's retirement package, which cost the Forward nearly a million dollars paid out in three lump sums of $327,000. Those payments ended in 2017, Feddersen told JTA, and Norich now receives no compensation as a Forward Association board member. Feddersen and another board member who asked not to be identified said that the organization should now be financially sustainable. Feddersen wrote in an email to JTA that with print costs gone and the staff significantly reduced, there will be "substantial savings" in 2019. Adam Langer and Helen Chernikoff, the publication's culture and news editors, respectively, will run the newsroom during the search for a new editor in chief. Feddersen told JTA that Eisner was let go because the publication needs an editor with more digital experience. But it was not long ago that the Forward was putting Eisner front and center. Last month, Eisner was an honoree at a Forward gala that highlighted "#FearlessWomen in Journalism." In 2017, the Forward launched a weekly email newsletter by Eisner called "Jane Looking Forward" that featured her perspective on recent events. In 2016, the Forward hired an external public relations firm to pitch her to other publications as an expert. In 2015 she interviewed then president Barack Obama. "We are extremely proud of our association with her and of everything she's done here," Feddersen said of Eisner. The Forward Association board member who wished to remain anonymous told JTA that "there's such affection for Jane." But a former board member, Tom Freudenheim, said that firing Eisner and other senior staff does not track with the goal of maintaining strong reporting. "I'm an admirer of Jane Eisner and Dan Friedman," said Freudenheim, a retired museum director, referring to the laid-off executive editor. "I don't know how you can run a newspaper, whether it's online or in print, if you don't have seasoned, senior, professional journalists running it." Eisner declined to comment to JTA, pointing to a statement she gave to The New York Times in which she said she had "embraced visionary, fearless and impactful journalism that served our community with distinction." She added that she has "cherished my time at The Forward." While she was still at the Forward, Eisner oversaw the shift away from print. In 2017, the Forward switched from being a weekly newspaper to a monthly magazine with a glossy cover. The Forward has 2 million monthly visitors online, and had 16,000 print subscribers, according to Feddersen. "Over the last couple of years this was a preordained process," the anonymous board member said. "People even a couple years ago knew we'd go from weekly to monthly and probably not have a print publication." That move marks a new era for a publication that has had a variety of lives. Under the leadership of Belarusian immigrant Abraham Kahan as a Yiddish daily with socialist leanings who took over in 1897, the Forward became a circulation powerhouse with more than 275,000 subscribers nationally at its peak in the early 1930s. It also owned a radio station, WEVD. The call letters of the station stood for Eugene V. Debs, the repeat socialist presidential candidate. The Forward headquarters on the Lower East Side were a local landmark. In 1974, a Chinese-American real estate family bought the Forward Building, and the newspaper moved to Midtown Manhattan, sharing space with the Workmen's Circle, a Jewish socialist organization. In 1990, the newspaper launched a weekly edition in English under the leadership of Seth Lipsky, a veteran of The Wall Street Journal. Lipsky put the reinvigorated weekly back on the map, mixing his own neoconservative leanings, knack for hiring young talent and a penchant for scoops with a formidable culture section headed by Jonathan Rosen, the critic and novelist. Forward alumni from that era include Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor in chief of The Atlantic; Philip Gourevitch, a New Yorker staff writer and former editor of The Paris Review; and Lucette Lagnado, a memoirist and reporter for The Wall Street Journal. Lipsky and the board parted ways in 2000, and his successor was J.J. Goldberg, a veteran Jewish journalist whose politics were more in line with the newspaper's left-wing roots. The Forward's financial prospects looked substantially brighter in 2002, when Disney bought WEVD for a reported $73-plus million; previously, a Spanish broadcasting network had paid the Forward $32.5 million for its coveted spot on the FM dial. At the time, The Forward Association said "proceeds from the sale would serve as an endowment, ensuring that English, Yiddish and Russian-language editions would carry on regardless of the advertising market." In 2010, it sold its midtown building for $18.5 million to a developer who resold it the same day for $20 million. Enviable revenues from those sales did not, however, ensure the newspaper's long-term financial health. "Part of the goal of a responsible board of any organization is to make sure the assets don't get pissed away, which is what they're trying to deal with now," Freudenheim said. "Those assets were used to prop up the print Forward, and we're living in a different age." Ken Doctor, a news industry expert at the Nieman Lab, said the decision to fire the most senior staff suggested a news operation in tough straits. "Usually it's among organizations that have hit the panic button," Doctor said. "When you have such a sudden lurch and you take out the top positions, that tells me this is not well planned. It sends a note of desperation." Fedderson said it was responsible for the Forward to act as it did when it did. "The company was slow to evolve when all the changes hit the media landscape for a bunch of reasons," Feddersen said in her email. "I was brought on to ensure the Forward continues to survive and thrive, and that includes curbing our expenses. This is by far the most responsible, best move we can make to fulfill our mission." The Yiddish edition, which has continued printing alongside the English paper, will also cease printing and maintain its digital presence. In addition to retaining its left-wing leanings, the Forward has a tradition of investigative reporting on Jewish institutions. In the past year, its reporters uncovered funders of Canary Mission, a shadowy blacklist of pro-Palestinian activists, as well as the history and misdeeds of Stanley Rosenfeld, a Jewish educator who assaulted underage boys for decades at Jewish schools. In 2017 it reported on former Trump White House aide Sebastian Gorka's connections to a Hungarian nationalist group with roots in the Nazi era. "I'm sad because I've enjoyed having it but it wasn't supported by the public," the board member said of the print edition. "It's a difficult time for all of us."

Israel strikes Iranian targets in Syria

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 8:48am
JERUSALEM (JTA) - Israel struck Iranian targets in Syria, hours after an Iranian-made ground-to-ground missile was fired by an Iranian force in Syria at northern Israel. The targets struck by Israel Defense Forces warplanes late on Sunday night include munitions storage sites, an Iranian intelligence site, an Iranian military training camp, and a military site located in the Damascus International Airport, the IDF said. Russia's defense control center in Syria said that four Syrian soldiers were killed and six wounded in the attacks. Syrian military air defenses destroyed more than 30 cruise missiles and guided bombs during the air strikes, according to Russia. The IDF warned Syria ahead of the strikes on the Iranian targets, and warned the Syrians not to fire anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli planes during the attack. However, dozens of Syrian surface-to-air missiles were launched during the attack, causing the Israeli warplanes to target several of the Syrian Armed Forces' aerial defense batteries, according to the IDF. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in London, reported that 11 people were killed, of which two were Syrian nationals. It said that the death toll is expected to rise. IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said the missile attack Sunday afternoon on the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights in northern Israel was pre-planned. "By firing towards Israeli civilians, Iran once again proved that it is attempting to entrench itself in Syria, endangering the State of Israel and regional stability," according to the IDF. "The IDF will continue to act decisively and firmly against the Iranian establishment in Syria." The missile attack came after Israel on Sunday morning targeted a munitions depot at the Damascus International Airport. The daylight attack was a departure from previous airstrikes. Israel has been more direct in recent weeks about acknowledging airstrikes on Syria. Outgoing Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot told the New York Times earlier this month that Israel launched thousands of attacks on Syria during his four years in the position. The Mount Hermon ski slopes and winter activities site was closed on Monday due to security concerns. The commander of the Iranian Air Force on Monday said that his country was prepared for a decisive war with Israel, "which will bring an end to the IDF's attacks on Syria." "Our armed forces are prepared for a war that will bring the destruction of Israel," he said, according to reports. "We are ready for the day when we will see the end of Israel."

Japanese diplomat to be recognized on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 8:55am
....AJC Houston and Holocaust Museum Houston invite the community to an annual event for the Consular Corps of Houston and community on the U.N. International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Sunday evening, Jan. 27, at the museum's temporary location. This year, recognition is given to Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who went against orders and issued more than 6,000 visas to refugees at the outbreak of World War II. The film about Sugihara's story, "Persona Non Grata," will be shown, and its director, Cellin Gluck, will lead a discussion after the screening. This audacious true story gets a sweeping, big-screen treatment in this epic biopic. Tracking events from 1934 to 1955, the film follows Sugihara from his early days in Manchuria to his posting as Japan's consul in Lithuania during World War II. Caught amid the rigid policies of Japan, now bound by treaty with Nazi Germany, and his moral awakening, Sugihara put career and family at great risk by issuing transit visas to imperiled European refugees, to help more than 6,000 Jews escape to Japanese territory. This event is free, but space is limited and requires a reservation at Today, nearly 60 years after those 29 fateful days in July and August 1940, there may be more than 40,000 who owe their lives to Chiune and Yukiko Sugihara. Two generations have come after the original Sugihara survivors, all owing their existence to one modest man and his family. After the war, Sugihara never mentioned or spoke to anyone about his extraordinary deeds. It was not until 1969 that Sugihara was found by a man he had helped save, That man was Yehoshua Nishri. Soon, hundreds of others came forward and testified in Yad Vashem (Holocaust Memorial) in Israel about his lifesaving acts of courage. After gathering testimonies from all over the world, leadership at Yad Vashem realized the enormity of this man's self-sacrifice in saving Jews. In 1985, he received Israel's highest honor: recognition as "Righteous Among the Nations" by the Yad Vashem Martyrs Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem. By then, an old man near death, he was too ill to travel to Israel. His wife and son received the honor on his behalf. A tree was planted in his name at Yad Vashem, and a park in Jerusalem was named in his honor. Forty-five years after he signed the visas, Chiune was asked why. He liked to give two reasons: "They were human beings and they needed help," he said. "I'm glad I found the strength to make the decision to give it to them." Sugihara was a religious man and believed in a universal G-d of all people. He was fond of saying, "I may have to disobey my government, but if I don't, I would be disobeying G-d." As a director, Gluck is known for "Persona Non Grata" (2015), "Oba The Last Samurai" (2011), Sideways - aka Saidoweizu (2009), and Lorelei (2005). As an assistant director/production manager, he is known for "Godzilla" (2014), "Memoirs of a Geisha" (2005), "Transformers" (2007), "Remember the Titans" (2000) and "Contact" (1997), among others. Born and spending his 'formative years' in Japan and Iran, Cellin graduated from the Canadian Academy in Kobe before attending the Claremont Colleges, graduating from Pitzer College with honors from the Pomona College Theatre Department. Cellin believes his multicultural upbringing, and his own diverse 'composition,' gives him an innate sensibility for things both Eastern and Western, allowing him to bridge cultures visually, viscerally and artistically, as well as emotionally. The program and film begin at 5:30 p.m., and the evening concludes at 8:30. Holocaust Museum Houston's temporary location is 9220 Kirby Dr,, Suite 100. Contact [email protected] or 713-439-1202 with questions. AJC Houston annually coordinates the local U.N. Holocaust International Observance with the HMH. In the past, diplomats from China, Mexico, El Salvador, Bulgaria, Philippines and Portugal have been recognized for disobeying orders and rescuing Jews during World War II.

March with MLK, Monday, Jan. 21

Wed, 01/09/2019 - 11:31am
....The community is invited to march in the 41st annual "Original" MLK Jr. Parade, on Monday, Jan. 21.  Jewish Americans long have been dedicated to civil rights and marched arm-in-arm with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was a fervent Zionist. Organizers Rabbi Gideon Estes and Ira Bleiweiss are asking members of the Jewish community to march with Houston Jewish Alliance for Civil Rights. "It is important for us to show our support in honor of the memory of a great leader like Dr. King, who inspired all people to stand together for the betterment of everyone," said Rabbi Estes. In previous years, participants received a warm reception as the only Jewish group to march in support of Dr. King's teachings. Participants all commented about how much fun they had. "Let's remind our community," said Bleiweiss, "that Jews helped found the NAACP, closely supported Dr. King, and even gave their lives for the cause." There is no charge to participate. The Jan. 21, 1-mile parade will run from 10 a.m. to noon, starting at McKinney and Smith streets by City Hall. The group from the Jewish community will gather in the yet-to-be-determined staging area near City Hall, from 9:15-9:45. Participants should dress appropriately for the weather, and in blue and white. Signs and flags will be provided. To locate the group, look for American and Israeli flags. Volunteers will hand out flyers, describing the Jewish connection to Dr. King, along the parade route. Join the community as it walks the walk. For additional information and to RSVP your intention to participate, email [email protected] or [email protected].

Hannah Fradkin

Tue, 01/08/2019 - 3:02pm

Chabad-Lubavitch impacts lives of Jewish Texans: Part 7: Upbeat Uptown Chabad

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 1:47pm
Some Chabad House are easily seen on major Houston-area thoroughfares. Others are tucked away in neighborhoods or even sandwiched between businesses in strip centers. Chabad of Uptown is one of those off the beaten path, but where its members beat a path to get there. Chabad of Uptown is located at 4311 Bettis St., between Westheimer and San Felipe streets in the Highland Village/Uptown area. Like other Chabad Houses, its directors - Rabbi Chaim and Chanie Lazaroff - began teaching Torah-inspired classes, holding Shabbos services and meals and welcoming Jews to holiday observances in their home. As more and more Jews took part in programs, the Lazaroffs have been able to expand their reach, always inspired by the Lubavitch Rebbe. Big family Rabbi Lazaroff was born in Houston in 1977, while his parents, Rabbi Shimon and Chiena Lazaroff, still lived in an apartment on South Braeswood Blvd. While he was still a baby, the family moved to Chabad Lubavitch of Texas' current campus, 10900 Fondren Rd., at that time, the newest Jewish area of Fondren Southwest. "I was raised within the cradle of the developing community there, driving my Peewee Herman bike around the neighborhood and attending Torah Day School," Rabbi Lazaroff told the JHV. The rabbi comes from a large family: "Kayn ayin horah," he said, "11 children of eight boys and three girls. I am the seventh of the Lazaroff lineup and my parent's third Texan born ... just in time to hold claim to my patriotic July 4th birth date." The senior Lazaroffs instilled a deep sense of responsibility in their children, to be an example of a Jewish child and to be a partner in the Rebbe's work to bring the love and joy of Judaism to everyone, everywhere. "My most vivid memories," the rabbi said, "are using my bike to deliver mishloach manos packages for Purim holiday awareness to every door in the neighborhood that I could find with a mezuzah ..." He also visited B'nai B'rith Towers, offering residents a chance to shake lulav and etrog on Sukkot. And, he went on Sundays to a farm to milk the cow for Cholov Yisroel milk. "These, and many other simple life experiences, made Judaism not only a subject we learn about, live within, but also teach and share with others the same deep commitment to the traditions," he said. Family roots "The Rebbe said to go to Texas to promote Yiddishkeit," Rabbi Lazaroff said. So, the senior Lazaroffs packed their house and drove to Texas with four children in tow. "They were pioneers in the area of shlichus, going out on a life-commitment mission from the Rebbe. ... As a child, this was my reality. It was only after leaving town to go to yeshiva, and seeing a complete Chabad community, did I begin to understand the efforts my parents must have made to raise us as Hasidim in Houston. This appreciation only grew as Chanie and I, ourselves, took up our positions here in Houston to raise our own family." Chanie grew up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, just a few blocks from the Lubavitcher Rebbe and Lubavitch World Headquarters. "Being in such close proximity to the Rebbe's court allowed me many opportunities to interact directly with the Rebbe on days like my own birthday," she told the JHV. "My family has been Chabad for multiple generations," she continued. "My great-grandfather, the father for whom my daughter Bluma is named for, was part of the Chabad-Lubavitch underground in the early years of the Stalin regime. He was arrested and executed in 1938. His location today is still unknown. My father continued to live in the underground until finally getting out of Russia in 1971. His stories of mesiras nefesh, self-sacrifice, for observant Jewish life and for Hasidus gave me a deep appreciation of my past and personal dedication to our future." Every summer, Chanie and her friends went to a Gan Israel camp in different states "to bring the joy of Judaism to the children there. The Rebbe inspired us young girls to volunteer our summer vacations, showing care for every Jew and create a safe place for people to explore their Judaism and connect to G-d one mitzvah at a time," she said. After high school, Chanie attended Beth Rivkah Seminary and interned with the Chabad center in Anchorage. She homeschooled the shluchim's children and taught in their preschool and Hebrew school. "It was amazing to be part of the team bringing Judaism to 'the frozen chosen,' Jews in Alaska. It was the internship that really solidified my interest in opening a Chabad House somewhere in the world." Rabbi Lazaroff received his Religious Studies Bachelor's from Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, N.J., and a Master's from Yeshivah Gedolah of Greater Miami. He also is certified in the Laws of Family Purity and is certified to officiate marriages in Israel. Chabad courtship Family connections brought the Lazaroffs together. Rabbi Lazaroff's sister-in-law, now running Chabad with his brother at Texas A&M, was looking through her high school yearbook and came across a picture of Chanie. She thought they should meet. "Turned out to be a pretty good idea," said Rabbi Lazaroff. Indeed, after meeting, dating and a brief engagement, the two were married 18 years ago in front of the Rebbe's office at 770 Eastern Parkway. Back to Houston The young couple knew they wanted to join the ranks of rabbis and rebbetzins promoting Judaism everywhere, and the senior Lazaroffs wanted them in Houston. "In reviewing the various options we had," said the young rabbi, "Houston was most attractive as a familiar place, with friendly people and a big heart the size of Texas." The Lazaroffs moved to Houston in 2002 to become program directors for the Chabad Lubavitch Center. "We started programming for young adults and professionals with monthly Shabbat dinners and periodic socials," said the rabbi. The couple quickly saw that guests were coming from the Uptown area. "Instead of bringing them to us, we figured, perhaps, we can bring programming to them," he said. Thus, Chabad of Uptown launched in 2005, holding High Holy Days services in the Houstonian - for more than 100 people. The Lazaroffs soon found a location at a former art gallery on San Felipe Street, officially opening their doors in February 2006. Since then, they have expanded their programming to include babies, seniors and everyone in between - half of the programs entirely for young professionals. As in all Chabad households, the Lazaroff children are involved, serving as role models for others. Bluma and Menucha share what they learned in school at the Shabbos table. Rivky, an excellent baker, runs the Kid's Program on Shabbos mornings, with prayers, teaching the parshah and playing games. Levi, 12 years old, leads the first part of the prayers, from the cantor's podium. The oldest, Chaya and Mendel, are in out-of-town high schools. "When they come home," said Chanie, "they assist as adults, and that has been a blessing. Chaya becomes Rabbi Chaim's 'executive assistant' and Mendel, his rabbi-in-training on mitzvah visits."  One of Chanie's joys is teaching brides about the mitzvah of mikvah and the beauty of setting up a Jewish home on the foundation of Torah and mitzvot. Rabbi Lazaroff's greatest joy is finding meaning in everyday life moments and Jewish rituals, and sharing the same with others. Compelling and engaging This active couple works tirelessly to keep programming compelling and engaging on every level, while maintaining a warm and welcoming environment. "We work every day to inspire the next generation of Jews to become the leaders of the community," said the rabbi. "One example is in the engagement of the mitzvah of tzedakah." A report from a recent online fundraising campaign revealed that the amount of local young professionals who supported the campaign surpassed the amount of supporting donors of the local general community. Rabbi Lazaroff points to this kind of engagement as a measuring stick. "The recent Jewish Federation of Greater Houston's study has found that 19 percent of Jewish households in Houston have attended Chabad in the previous year," he said. "When narrowing that age bracket to 18-35, that number jumps to 37 percent."   True, too, post-college young adults are a growing Jewish demographic of the Jewish community, according to the rabbi. Young people are postponing marriage and/or having children. Jewish engagement for them, before marriage, is scarce. Fifteen years ago, the couple began bridging the gap between Jewish campus life and Jewish family life. "While providing programs and activities that are rich in Jewish content, young singles and couples find their social needs met at YJP Houston, the young adult program powered by Chabad of Uptown," said the rabbi. "Keeping them Jewishly engaged keeps them within the Jewish community, to be able to have Jewish families. This is illustrated by our Chai Lounge wifi password, 'projectjewishbabies.'" YJP Houston participants also volunteer for various organizations, doing their part to change the world. "Helping the community in every way possible is part of what it means to be engaged Jewish leaders," Rabbi Lazaroff said. Chanie, in particular, loves seeing delighted children in their Mommy & Me socials on Tuesday mornings. "The workshops with a Jewish twist are for mother and baby, from newborn to 2 years of age. Moms meet other moms, share experiences, discuss child growth and development. Of course, the mothers and children will enjoy songs, music, games and arts and crafts. It is a great beginning to the child's Jewish education." Other Uptown programs include visiting seniors at their homes and nearby Brookdale Galleria. A "loaves of love" program provides seniors with challahs, and volunteers bring Jewish holiday observances to a generation that has so much to give back to them. A Cteen program engages local Jewish teens in being leaders, locally and globally, through acts of goodness and kindness. "Through a fusion of fun, friendship-building events, humanitarian outreach, mitzvah observance and engaging Torah study, teens are empowered to actualize their inner infinite potential, while cultivating a strong sense of Jewish identity, pride, mission and love of G-d," said the rabbi. Of course, teaching Torah and the joy of mitzvot is a passion for the Lazaroffs. "Giving classes almost every day of the week and hosting weekly Shabbat dinners and lunches has been a delight," said Chanie. Guests for Shabbos include travelers from around the world, staying at nearby hotels, who join them for Shabbos. The Rebbe influence "The Rebbe is our guiding light," said Rabbi Lazaroff. "His teachings, life examples and inspiration are what keeps us going every day. We view carrying on the Rebbe's legacy is not only a privilege but also a responsibility. The Rebbe called for us to not rest until every dark corner of Earth is filled with light. ..."

Golden Globes 2019: All the Jewish moments

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 11:53am
....From Michael Douglas' Yiddish exclamation to more success for "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" to Regina King's Hebrew-letter tattoo, the 2019 Golden Globes had its fair share of Jewish moments. Rachel Brosnahan is not Jewish, but she does a convincing job playing a very Jewish woman in "Mrs. Maisel." She won best actress in a comedy show for the second year in a row. During Sunday night's awards from the Beverly Hills Hilton, she earned praise for the way she thanked her Jewish show runner, saying "Our village is a matriarchy led by Amy Sherman-Palladino." Brosnahan edged out fellow Jewish best actress nominees Alison Brie ("Glow") and Debra Messing ("Will & Grace"). Andy Samberg, co-hosting with actress Sandra Oh, also addressed criticism that "Mrs. Maisel" deals in Jewish stereotypes in one of the more pointed jokes in a cuddly opening monologue. "'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' is nominated again for multiple awards," Samberg said. "It's the show that makes audiences sit up and say, 'Wait, is this anti-Semitic?'" Douglas accepted the best actor award for a TV musical or comedy from the Foreign Press Association for his role as aging acting coach Sandy Kominsky in "The Kominsky Method." He thanked the show's Jewish creator, Chuck Lorre, and acknowledged his co-star and "dancing partner" Alan Arkin. Douglas also paid tribute to his 102-year-old father, the iconic actor Kirk Douglas, then elicited laughter by raising the award and shouting "Alte kockers rule!" - using the Yiddish equivalent of "old fart." It was the third Golden Globe for the younger Douglas, following awards for his roles in "Wall Street" (1988) and "Behind the Candelabra" (2014). He also received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment in 2004. "The Kominsky Method" also won best comedy TV series, bringing Lorre his first award after seven Emmy Award nominations. "This doesn't happen to me," he said in his acceptance speech. "I've been doing this a long time, and I'm up here trembling like a leaf." "The Americans" creator, writer and executive producer Joe Weisberg accepted the best drama series award for the sixth and final season of his show about the Cold War as lived by two married KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington, D.C., during the Reagan administration. The show finally broke through after being nominated for a Golden Globe in every season. The omnipresent Jewish songwriter, producer and DJ Marc Ronson - who has collaborated with the likes of Bruno Mars and Miley Cyrus - was part of a team of four that included singer Lady Gaga to win for best song with "Shallow," from the movie "A Star is Born." Andrew Wyatt and Anthony Rossomando make up the rest of the team. "You took a heartfelt, honest tune and you gave it emotional resonance that we could've only dreamed of," Ronson told Lady Gaga in accepting the award. "Seriously, the way you weaved the lyrics into the film and the narrative of your beautiful heartbreaking film is why we're standing up here tonight, I believe." Glenn Close took the Golden Globe award for best actress in a drama film for her role in "The Wife," which is based on a book by Jewish author Meg Wolitzer. In accepting the 2019 Cecil B. DeMille Award, actor Jeff Bridges thanked Ethan and Joel Coen, who directed him in the 1998 cult classic "The Big Lebowski." Bridges' character in that film, known as The Dude, is widely considered to be his most iconic role. "If I'm lucky, I'll be associated with The Dude for the rest of my life. I feel so honored to be a part of that film," Bridges said in thanking the Coens, whom he called "true masters." Meanwhile, as it seems to do during every recent awards ceremony, social media was going bonkers trying to figure out the meaning of the tattoo on King's left forearm. King, who won as best supporting actress for "If Beale Street Could Talk," has addressed the tattoo, made up of three Hebrew letters, in interviews with mainstream media. The letters show up in the list of "72 names of God," according to the mystical Jewish tradition, and have been interpreted by Christians and New Age practitioners as meaning "unconditional love."

Josh Wolf

Wed, 01/02/2019 - 3:00pm

Holocaust Museum Houston to reopen after dramatic expansion

Wed, 01/02/2019 - 2:34pm
....Houston's Holocaust museum will reopen its campus June 22, 2019, after a $34 million expansion of its original home at 5401 Caroline St. By more than doubling in size to a total of 57,000 square feet, the new facility will rank as the nation's fourth largest Holocaust museum, and the first to be fully bilingual - in English and Spanish. The new, three-story structure will house a welcome center, four permanent galleries and two changing exhibition galleries, classrooms, research library, café, 200-seat indoor theater and 175-seat outdoor amphitheater. In becoming one of the top Holocaust museums in the country, the organization will broaden its mission as a super-regional hub for Holocaust education and a national voice for human rights and social justice. "This expansion marks the most ambitious undertaking in our 23-year history," said Dr. Kelly J. Zúñiga, Holocaust Museum Houston CEO. "With the rise in anti-Semitism, hate crimes and threats to human rights within our own country, our role in education and outreach is more important than ever before." Expanded exhibits are expected to increase student field trip attendance by 50 percent in the first year, while overall annual attendance is expected to grow by 35 percent. The permanent Holocaust exhibit includes such rare artifacts as a rescue boat, like those used by Danish fishermen to ferry Jewish neighbors to neutral territory under cover of night, as well as a World War II-era railcar, like the ones that transported Jews to concentration camps and killing centers. A Human Rights Gallery will feature educational displays of all U.N.-recognized genocides, as well as tributes to international human rights leaders. The museum will debut the world's largest gallery of artwork by Holocaust child survivor and painter, Samuel Bak, with more than 100 works in exhibition rotation. Finally, an interactive media display will bring to life the writings of 18 young diarists, from around the world including Anne Frank, who died in genocides. The museum also will host touring exhibitions from Israel, China, Canada and South Africa in 2019 through 2021. Leading up to the museum's reopening in June, HMH will debut a new bilingual website, followed by the May opening of the internationally acclaimed Coexistence outdoor exhibition in Hermann Park. The museum has been temporary located at 9220 Kirby Dr., St. 100, since construction began in October 2017. The temporary museum will close on Thursday, May 16.

Community Calendar

Wed, 01/02/2019 - 2:26pm
....<?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. SUNDAY, JAN. 6 Friendship Circle of Houston invites teens interested in volunteering for Bowling Buddies &ndash; an afternoon out with volunteers, families and friends with special needs. Emerald Bowl, 9307 Boone Rd., 1:30-3 p.m. Email [email protected] to RSVP or for more information. TUESDAY, JAN. 8

Join Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss, of Congregation Shma Koleinu, at Cafe Express Uptown, 101 Uptown Park Blvd., Suite 12, 7:30-8:30 a.m., for Torah over Easy, an engaging discussion of the weekly Torah portion, plus breakfast. Email [email protected] to register or for more information.

Chat, eat and crochet for good causes with Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism's Knitzvah group. Open to the community, newcomers welcome, 801 Bering Dr., 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. More information at

Hebrew Order of David Lodge Galil, a Jewish service organization, is hosting a New Member's Coffee from 7-8 p.m., at 4419 Woodvalley Dr. Email [email protected] or visit to register or for more information.


Explore timeless themes of Judaism at Congregation Beth Israel's monthly Midrash Meet &amp; Eat. This month's topic: Slavery and Redemption. In the Lewis President's Room, 5600 N. Braeswood Blvd., 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Lunch provided. RSVP Dani Gardner, 713-771-6221, ext. 630.

&quot;Health in Body, Mind &amp; Spirit,&quot; a new women's program, sponsored by Chabad Centers of Houston will feature a social and relaxing evening of insight and discovery, 7 p.m., at Chabad of Uptown, at 4311 Bettis Dr. Panel discussion, followed by breakout session and dessert. Free, but registration encourage:

Join Evelyn Rubenstein JCC's Mishpachah and Me for L'Dough V'Dough, an evening of challah making, learning and fun, for parents only. Free and open to the community, 7-9:30 p.m.; space is limited. Contact Mari Katz O'Leary, [email protected], to RSVP and for location.


JCC: Fitness Center Open House, 5601 S. Braeswood Blvd., 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Check out the newly renovated Fitness Center. Come ready for the full experience incuding group training demonstrations, wellness counseling, discounts and giveaways. Contact Robin Fortenberry, 713-551-7211, [email protected].; fitness-center-openhouse.

JCC: Introduction to Belly Dancing Workshop, 3-4:30 p.m. Learn the ancient art of belly dance while getting a great low-impact workout! In this introductory class you will learn a bit about the world's oldest dance and its beautiful and powerful movements. Contact Maxine Silberstein, 713-551-7217; [email protected].,

FRIDAY, JAN. 18 Congregation Beth Israel will host an &quot;MLK Shabbat,&quot; a Service of Universal Harmony, 6:30 p.m., in the sanctuary, 5600 N. Braeswood Blvd. Featuring Cantor Star Trompeter and International Voices Houston. Oneg to follow. To join singers on bimah, email [email protected] or call 713-771-6221, ext. 604. THURSDAY, JAN. 24 JCC: Printmaking Workshop with Orna Feinstein, 7-9:30 p.m. If you ever wondered what original prints and printmaking is all about, here is your chance to learn how prints are made. Orna will educate us about monoprints and editions and their growing popularity in the art world. This session will include hands-on printmaking techniques without a press. Contact: Maxine Silberstein, 713-551-7217, [email protected]., FRIDAY-SUNDAY, JAN. 25-27 Congregation Beth Israel and AIPAC will host Sarah Tuttle-Singer, Times of Israel columnist and author, for Beth Israel's scholar in residence. Friday, 6:30 p.m., at Beth Israel, 5600 N. Braeswood Blvd. Tuttle-Singer will speak during services, followed by Shabbat dinner and continued discussion. No charge. Saturday, 9:45 a.m., in Finger Board Room, she will lead Torah story on &quot;Jerusalem: A Love Story.&quot; Includes bagel breakfast. Sunday, 10:15 a.m., in Margolis Gallery, she will speak on &quot;How to Talk to Your Children About Israel,&quot; for parents and grandparents of children in pre-K through seventh grade. RSVP for Shabbat dinner at Questions: [email protected] or 713-771-6221, ext. 630. FRIDAY-MONDAY, JAN. 25-28 Tirkedu Houston! Israeli Folk Dance Workshop, time varies. A fun-filled weekend of enthusiastic dancing with the young, talented and energetic teacher Aaron Alpert, noted for his teaching of Israeli Folk Dance. Full weekend package and individual session registration available. Contact Maxine Silberstein, 713-551-7217; [email protected], SATURDAY-MONDAY, JAN. 26-28

JCC: Annual Weingarten Tennis Weekend, 9 a.m., Don't wait to get in on all the tun! There is something for everyone who enjoys having fun while playing some tennis. Includes Ladies Drinks &amp; Drills, Pro-Am and Junior Tournament. Contact: Erik Kiser, 713-551-7292; [email protected],


&quot;Camp Carnival&quot; at Merfish Teen Center, 9000 S. Rice Ave., 2:30-5 p.m. Learn all about JCC Camps, while children play and have fun.

&quot;Ever Open,&quot; a concert to celebrate Congregation Emanu El's 75th anniversary, will be held at 4 p.m., at Emanu El, 1500 Sunset Blvd. Free; reception to follow. RSVP:

SUNDAY-WEDNESDAY, JAN. 27-30 Evelyn Rubenstein JCC will host literary scholar in residence Meir Shalev, 10:30 a.m., 5601 S. Braeswood. More information: Rabbi Samantha Safran, 713-595-8163 or [email protected], or go to MONDAY, JAN. 28 JCC: Camp Carnival, 2:30-5 p.m. Join JCC for an afternoon of family fun! Meet camp leadership and explore NEW camp options for summer 2019. Plus enter to win a free week of camp. Bounce House, Face Paint, Prizes and Games. Contact Anna Shabtay, 713-551-7297; [email protected],


Mommy &amp; Me Tot Shabbat on the first and third Shabbat (Saturday) morning of each month, 11 a.m.-noon, in Meyerland Minyan Synagogue Kid's Room. For children, infants-4 years old. For more information, email [email protected] or call 713-398-1566.

Weekly mah-jongg game, Mondays, 1 p.m., City of West University Senior Center, Rice Blvd. at Auden. For information, contact Eileen Barrett at [email protected]

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].



Mon, 12/31/2018 - 3:06pm
1929-2018 Herbert L. Fred, M.D., professor emeritus of Medicine, McGovern Medical School, Houston, and master in the American College of Physicians, passed away on Dec. 30, 2018. As a full-time medical educator for almost six decades, he leaves a legacy of several thousand trainees who learned to be better doctors under his watchful eye. And, he will be remembered as a self-motivated, deeply committed, highly disciplined, strongly competitive, achievement-driven, independent thinker for whom learning was a passion, hard work the norm and excellence the standard. Herb was born in Waco, Texas, on June 11, 1929, to Helen and Isadore ("Isie") Fred. His father, a jeweler by trade, taught him that it isn't the color of your skin, the size of your pocketbook, the depth of your knowledge or the religion of your choice that matters. It's what you do with what you have that counts. His father's immense concern for the welfare of others inspired Herb to choose medicine as his calling. His mother taught him the importance of an education, the value of high standards and the virtues of integrity, discipline and punctuality. Growing up in Waco, Herb became a gifted table tennis player and spent his Saturdays defeating all comers at the local YMCA. After graduating valedictorian among 400 students in his Waco High School class of 1946, he entered the Rice Institute. Four years later, he received his B.A. degree there. At Rice, he was runner-up at each of its yearly table tennis tournaments. In 1948, during summer studies at the University of Colorado, he won the university's table tennis competition. That same year, Herb took third place in a five-state talent contest in Denver; he impersonated the Ink Spots, Frankie Lane, Vaughn Monroe, Peter Lorre and Winston Churchill. He received his M.D. degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1954. He then completed his internship and residency training at the University of Utah Affiliated Hospitals in Salt Lake City. After two years in the U.S. Air Force, Herb joined the faculty of Baylor College of Medicine in 1962. During his seven years at Baylor, he was named the Outstanding Full-time Clinical Faculty Member by the senior classes of 1964 and 1965. The senior class of 1967 dedicated its annual, the Aesculapian, to him. Herb became director of Medical Education at St. Joseph Hospital, Houston, in 1969. There, he created Houston Medicine, a bi-monthly medical journal that went to all physicians in Harris County for eight-and-one-half years. In 1971, he became professor of Internal Medicine at The University of Texas Medical School in Houston. Between 1974 and 1979, the interns and residents at St. Joseph Hospital and at the University of Texas Medical School gave Herb a yearly award for "Excellence in Teaching," and from 1990 to 1999, he earned the "Dean's Excellence Award." In 1999, he received the Benjy F. Brooks, MD Outstanding Clinical Faculty Award from the Alumni Association of The University of Texas Medical School in Houston. Over the years, Herb continued to receive numerous awards and honors - most for teaching, others for writing. Houston City Magazine selected him as one of Houston's "84 most interesting people in 1984," and Houston Mayor Kathy Whitmire honored him by designating Oct. 7, 1988, as Dr. Herbert L. Fred Day. That same year, then-President Ronald Reagan issued Herb a Presidential Commendation, in recognition of 27 years as a medical educator in Houston. In 1994, The American Medical Writers Association, Southwest Chapter, awarded Herb a Certificate of Appreciation for outstanding contributions as a medical writer and journal editor. In 2002, Herb's former trainees honored him for 50 years of bedside teaching by founding The Herb Fred Medical Society, Inc. He was named The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine Distinguished Teacher for 2004. That year, he was The Donald Church Balfour Visiting Professor in Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. And, in 2005, he won the TIAA-CREF Distinguished Medical Educator Award. In 2006, Herb received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Waco, Texas, Independent School District Education Foundation. Additionally, students at The University of Texas Medical School in Houston created a film, titled "A Special Tribute to Herbert L. Fred, MD." In 2007, Herb received The Federation of State Medical Boards Award for Excellence in Editorial Writing. Herb was the inaugural speaker in 2012 at the annual Herbert L. Fred, MD, MACP, Visiting Professorship in Medical and Biomedical Education at the Institute for Excellence in Education, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. The Texas Chapter of The American College of Physicians gave him The Laureate Award that year for his abiding commitment to excellence in medical care, education and community service. In 2013, the Quality of Life Research Center at Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, Calif., granted him a Certificate of Recognition as an exemplary mentor in the positive development of junior colleagues in the medical profession. His additional honors included a film on YouTube, titled "In Honor of Herbert L. Fred, MD, MACP;" Honoree of a gala benefiting the Texas Medical Center Library; The John P. McGovern Compleat Physician Award, presented annually to one physician in America whose career is founded on the Oslerian ideals of medical excellence; a Certificate of Congressional Recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives, for dedication and commitment to the practice of medicine and the healing arts; and honoree: "A Tribute to Herbert L. Fred, MD, MACP" Special Grand Rounds, McGovern Medical School. Herb lectured or was a visiting professor of medicine throughout the United States and in China, Canada, Italy, Switzerland and Denmark. He began his writing career at the age of 10 years, when the Waco-News Tribune published a poem of his. As an adult, he authored 20 medical reviews, chapters in six medical texts, 506 journal articles, and six medical books, one of which was nominated for the National Book Award. He also wrote health-related articles for USA Today, The Pittsburg Post-Gazette, The Houston Post, The Houston Chronicle, and The Macon, Georgia Telegraph. Many of Herb's clinical accomplishments are noteworthy. He closely supervised the medical care of indigent patients in Houston for 55 years. He also served as consultant for physicians across America. In addition, he and his colleagues made numerous, important contributions to the diagnosis and management of pulmonary thromboembolic disease. He and his colleagues were the first in the world to perform cardiac catheterization on patients with acute pulmonary edema of altitude, proving for the first time that the illness does not result from heart failure or pneumonia. At the age of 88 years, in his 488th publication, Herb described five patients (two of his own) who had the tricuspid insufficiency-pulsating varicocele connection. That disorder is now officially called The Fred Syndrome. He and a Baylor medical student were the first to report use of the ophthalmoscope to diagnose sickle-cell disease. He was the first in America and second in the world to report the cause, consequences and cure of grossly bloody urine of runners. He was a member of the team that established the diurnial variations of plasma 17-hydroxycorticosteroids in humans. During his professional career, Herb collected and catalogued for quick retrieval an estimated 3 million medical reprints, presumably the largest medical reprint file in the world. That file, along with Herb's papers, documents, letters, awards and family photographs are housed in the Texas Medical Center Library Archives. Herb was a member of the Texas Medical Association and Harris County Medical Society for more than 60 years. His love for and appreciation of libraries culminated in construction of The Herbert L. Fred, MD, MACP Student Study Hall, which opened March 30, 2016, in the Texas Medical Center Library. Medical students and house officers from both Houston medical schools can gain access to the Hall, 24/7-365. Herb served on the editorial boards of five national medical journals, the Board of Governors of the American Osler Society, the Board of Trustees of Houston's HCA Medical Center Hospital, the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Texas Medical Center Library, and was president of Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism for two years. Many of Herb's students became leaders in American Medicine, including a head of the United States Food and Drug Administration, a medical school chancellor, a president of a health science center, a president of the American College of Physicians, a president of a state medical association, a president of the American College of Gastroenterology, a president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, a president of the Southwestern Surgical Congress, three medical school deans, 13 department chairs, 17 division chiefs, eight training program directors, an executive director of a state board of medical examiners, and three different presidents of the Harris County Medical Society, the largest county medical society in America. In 1966, well before the current emphasis on physical fitness, Herb decided to develop a strong body as well as a strong mind. Consequently, he began to run, quickly graduating to marathons and ultramarathons (100-kilometer, 100-mile and 24-hour races). From 1980 to 1983, he set a number of national age and age-group records for ultradistances, including a 100-mile run in 17 hours, 2 minutes, 3 seconds at the age of 53. On April 20, 2016, Herb completed an entire year of running 1 mile or more every day - a world record for 86-year-olds. He ended his running career in 2016, having totaled 253,010 miles - more documented lifetime miles than anyone else in the world. His interest in sports medicine led to his appointment in 1980 as adjunct professor in the Department of Health and Physical Education at his alma mater, Rice University (formerly, the Rice Institute). Herb was a proud son, caring brother, devoted father and a grateful and loving husband. Preceding him in death were his parents; his sister, Shirley Strauss; and his ex-wife, Lucy. Surviving him are his sweetheart, soul mate, and wife of 40 years, Judy; his children, Stuart, Michael, Nancy and their families; his step-children, Daniel, Lisa, Stefani and Gregory; seven granddaughters, one grandson, two great-granddaughters and one-great grandson. A memorial service and celebration of Herb's life will take place on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, at 1:30 p.m., at Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism, 801 Bering Dr., Houston, Texas. Herb will be laid to rest with his parents at a private family gathering in Waco, Texas. In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests, with gratitude, that donations in Herb's name be directed to a charity of one's choice.

The changing status of Hebrew on campus

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 10:59am
There are some 7,000 languages spoken in the world today. Linguists estimate nearly half are in danger of extinction, and are likely to disappear by the end of this century. Put another way: One language dies every two weeks. In contrast, one language underwent a resurrection into a spoken language and literature during the past century. That language is Hebrew: A living language of the Middle East. A possible common language for world Jewry. A means to study the Jewish textual tradition. A unique linguistic achievement. Some call it a miracle. The fact is that Hebrew became a "normal" language.  When it became the language of a real country, Hebrew could be justified as part of Middle East Studies. Then, in the 1960s, Hebrew briefly enjoyed a growth period with the proliferation of Jewish Studies programs - and later, Israeli Studies. Now, the study of Hebrew is in radical decline. According to the Modern Language Association, enrollment in Hebrew classes fell 19 percent from 2009-2013. The drop was the largest of all languages, except for Ancient Greek. That decline is part of a falloff in the study of all foreign languages. Academia has seen a general decline in the study of humanities, combined with a rise favoring careerism (the study of STEM courses and professional training). Plus, there's the American attitude that English is sufficient everywhere. In addition, students who want to specialize in Middle East Studies are now learning Arabic, not Hebrew. And, on many campuses, there's a general toxic atmosphere surrounding all things related to Israel. Naomi Sokoloff makes the case that any foreign language study leads to multiple kinds of intellectual development. "Social science research supports the cognitive benefits of learning a new language," Sokoloff told the JHV. "These benefits include flexibility in thinking, improvement in first-language writing, enhanced critical thinking and clearer communication, greater concentration and greater sensitivity to context (whether language should be formal or informal)." Sokoloff is professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization and Comparative Literature at the University of Washington, and affiliate professor at the University of Haifa. Sokoloff is the co-editor, with Nancy Berg, of "What We Talk About When Talk About Hebrew" (University of Washington Press). The book is a collection of essays that looks at the changing status of Hebrew and Hebrew Studies in America. While there are good reasons to study a foreign language, Sokoloff contends there are unique and compelling reasons to study Hebrew. "Hebrew opens the door to a rich, 3,000-year-old literary heritage. Hebrew brings together many texts: ancient and modern, religious and secular, Eastern and Western. Within a few years, Hebrew will be the language of the majority of Jews in the world. The language allows the building of bridges between the American and Israeli experiences.  "The process of Hebrew rebirth can teach us about other language revivals," said Sokoloff. "No other language revival has been successful on the same scale as Hebrew. One student of mine described attempts - largely unsuccessful - to purify Persian from the influence of Arabic. Hebrew worked, in part, because Jews needed a common language in Palestine. The hazutzim (pioneers) were dreamers devoted to creating a new society. They came to Palestine without their families and lived in collective groups so that they didn't hear other languages around them." Sokoloff said she came to Hebrew comparatively late. At age 20, when she began to study Hebrew and visited Israel, Sokoloff said she "discovered a world brimming with meaning and teeming with life." Something as simple as a person's name could reference an animal (Zev or Dov/wolf or bear), a flower (Hadas/myrtle), or faith (Geulah or Nissim/redemption or miracles). "One of the joys of learning Hebrew is to gain entrance into this history and to follow this developing story," Sokoloff wrote in a recent blog. "Rewards start at the very beginning. Even the simplest vocabulary items in an introductory class offer insights into Hebrew names. Tova, Yaffa and Shalom (good, beautiful, peace) are among the first words students acquire. From there, the possibilities are endless." The rewards Sokoloff describes are similar to those expressed by Alan Mintz, whose essay, "Hebrew In America," appears in the book. Mintz writes: "Hebrew was like possessing a secret decoder ring that allowed me to uncover the hidden meaning behind the utterances and behaviors that shaped my life as a Jew." Yet, when Hebraists and Hebrew academics get together and talk about Hebrew, it's often a lament about a long-standing American Jewish refusal to learn Hebrew. Or, as Michael Weingrad, one contributor to "What We Talk About..." wrote, "It's not that American Jews can't learn Hebrew but that they actively won't. The American-Jewish refusal to learn Hebrew is not an absence, either of confidence or resources. It is a presence ... based on feeling outside, on the threshold knocking at the door of Jewishness, but never quite entering." At the university level, Sokoloff sees little institutional support for studying Hebrew. "Universities are getting a strong message that languages don't count," she said. "STEM counts. Where are the great supporters for study of language? "If the idea is for Americans to engage with Israeli culture, Hebrew is the bridge. There are some efforts in elementary and secondary schools, such as Hebrew at the Center. But, I don't see that going on in the universities."

How to make anti-BDS laws better

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 10:55am
Ronald Reagan infamously described the "nine most terrifying words in the English language" as "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." Right now, pro-Israel activists are recoiling from the unanticipated consequences of state laws which sought only to "help" them fight BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, targeting Israel. The precise content of the laws vary from state to state, but in the main, they prohibit state contractors from boycotting Israel during the duration of their contract. Typically, this requires the would-be contractor to sign a declaration disclaiming any such intent to boycott. Twenty-six states already have passed legislation of this sort, and two - Kansas and Arizona - have seen theirs fail constitutional challenges. But, the issue exploded back onto the national scene when a Palestinian-American Texas speech pathologist claimed she was terminated from her position at her local school district after she refused to sign a statement that she doesn't boycott Israel. The case already has become a public relations debacle for the pro-Israel community. It has all the appearances of an overbearing government thought-police pressing down on the little guy, holding paychecks hostage in order to demand ideological conformity on the merits of a country two continents away. What possible business is it of Texas what a random speech pathologist does or doesn't think about Israel? Condemnation has been swift and brutal, and in many cases crossed partisan boundaries. All of this was eminently predictable. From the start, these state laws have been interpreted in manners that seem calculated to cause maximum embarrassment to those they purportedly "help"- trying to block an academic speaker at Arizona State, refusing to distribute hurricane relief aid in Texas without a commitment from the recipients not to boycott Israel. It does little good to say "those are misapplications of the law." When laws are drafted quickly and sloppily, with much attention to the press release and little concern towards the possibility of overreach or misconstrual by the bureaucrats tasked with enforcing them, these are the results you can expect. At the very least, this latest fiasco should be a cautionary tale about relying on government to wage a fight that should be won and lost in the open marketplace of ideas. But, no doubt some will be less keen on giving up legislative options altogether. Is there a way to craft an anti-BDS law that is not, or at least less prone to being applied (or misapplied) in nakedly censorial fashion? Rule 1: Don't write the laws as Israel-only one-offs. While anti-BDS advocates often complain the movement "singles out" Israel for stricter scrutiny, it is fair to rejoin that many anti-BDS laws single out Israel for especially favorable treatment. A Texas state contractor can decide to boycott anywhere from Myanmar to Venezuela to France - but not Israel. Why should Israel, alone of the nations, get the special solicitude of an American state? It shouldn't. Boycotts targeting Israel should be governed by the same statutory and constitutional standards as any other boycott - no better, no worse. South Carolina's "anti-BDS" law provides a useful model: It does not mention Israel at all. It covers boycotts of any jurisdiction "with whom South Carolina can enjoy open trade," and even then, only when that boycott "is based on race, color, religion, gender or national origin of the targeted person or entity." Persons are just as limited in their ability to boycott French products as Israeli ones. A law which singles out Israel appears to take sides in a fraught ideological controversy. It is easy to feel for the Texas pathologist who feels compelled to sign some sort of pro-Israel ideological declaration. It would be harder for her to muster the same sympathy if she objected to stating that she would refrain from discriminating on basis of "race, color, religion or national origin." Rule 2: Anti-BDS laws also should restrict themselves to the contractor's behavior on the job. States do have a valid interest in regulating how their contractors do the job they were hired to do. They have much less legitimate investment on how such contractors behave on their own time. Yet, most anti-BDS legislation requires a contractor to stipulate that they will not boycott Israel, not just in the course of fulfilling their state contract, but in any capacity for as long as the contract is in force. The Texas speech pathologist, for example, cannot refuse to buy an Israeli software program for her home office while working for the school district, even if that software has nothing to do with her work for the school. It may be true, as law professor David Bernstein argues, that the Texas law only regulates the pathologist as a contractor, and not in her "personal life." But, such distinctions are easily blurred in the case of sole proprietorships and independent contractors, where personal and business purchasing decisions often meld together. And, in such cases the potential for misinterpretation and chilled speech is especially high. Take a high school debate judge from a local college who receives a form demanding that he, the "contractor," forgo boycotting Israel. It would be easy to see how he would perceive the demand to be aimed as his personal, off-the-job conduct. More importantly, it's easy to see how an overworked and uninformed school district administrator could believe that. If the goal is to avoid bureaucratic mishaps and chilled speech, it's probably best to avoid regulating even the "business" decisions of sole proprietorships - at least when they are off the state's clock. By contrast, states are perfectly legitimate in demanding that contractors behave in nondiscriminatory fashion in the course of fulfilling their contract. The state might not have any valid interest in how its speech pathologists stock their home offices, but it has a very strong interest in confirming that they won't, for example, refuse to treat an Israeli exchange student or refrain from using a valuable educational program just because it was published by an Israeli company. Ditto the college student judging a high school debate: What he does on his own time is his business, but he certainly can't claim a free expression right to refuse to judge a round that happens to have an Israeli competitor in it. In sum, the ideal anti-BDS law is one that a) applies not just to Israel, but generally to boycotts of countries with whom a state has open trade with, and b) covers how contractors fulfill their contract with the state, but not their private, off-the-job conduct. You might notice, however, that such a law starts to look like a pretty general non-discrimination commitment. It isn't really an "anti-BDS law" at all. It's just an anti-discrimination law. That's no accident. When government actors jump in to "help" fight BDS, specifically, they're likely to do it with a typical bureaucratic mix of grandstanding and ineptitude, and the results are usually as terrifying as Reagan might have predicted. But, when they sit down and try to solve a general problem - regulating state contractors as state contractors, not as private citizens, and refraining from punishing people for having the wrong ideology - they might be able to do some common good. David Schraub is a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and senior research fellow at the California Constitution Center.