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Shabbat Retreat Weekend a big Success!

02/12/2024 12:19:12 PM

Feb12

Cantor Mark Levine

 Last weekend, Brith Shalom organized and held a highly successful retreat for conversion candidates from 5 Houston Conservative congregations. Forty five soon- to-be-Jewish participations spent a Shabbat plus together, praying, learning, eating, and socializing together with Houston clergy and communal leaders. Hearing the voices in song, standing arm in arm for Havdalah, and watching people learning to put on Tefillin created life-long...Read more...

Washington D.C. Rally for Israel

11/16/2023 03:02:52 PM

Nov16

Cantor Mark Levine

This past Tuesday, I was honored and blessed to travel with 250 Jewish Houstonians on an 18-hour Federation-organized junket to Washington DC,  joining over 250,000 other Jews assembled before the Capital of the United States.

It was an unusually beautiful November day, temperatures hovering just below 60 degrees, calm and crystal-clear air, amidst leaves of brown, red, yellow, and orange. Binureinu Uvizkeinu – with our young...Read more...

Bereshit –2023 – Zachor Et Amalei - Shemini Atzeret Terrorism

10/16/2023 08:09:49 AM

Oct16

Cantor Mark Levine

AM YISRAEL CHAI!

בראשית ברה אלקים את השמים ואת הארץ
When God began to create heaven and the earth
והארץ היתה טהו ובהו

The earth being Tohu Vavohu, unformed and void, in total chaos, without pattern or meaning.

This past Shabbat, the Jewish world reverted to a state of Tohu Vavohu. As we all have seen, heavily armed Hamas terrorists crossed...Read more...

Rosh Hashanah 2023 – Ascending to New Depths

09/19/2023 10:03:02 AM

Sep19

Cantor Mark Levine

A young man walked into a drug store to make a phone call. (obviously prior to the proliferation of smart phones). He left open the door to the booth and the storekeeper could not help overhearing the conversation. The young man was obviously talking to the manager of a company asking him whether a certain position had been filled, and the answer was in the affirmative. He then proceeded to ask whether the new employee was satisfactory. To...Read more...

Shabbat Korach – Pride, Prejudice and Protest

06/26/2023 02:42:55 PM

Jun26

Cantor Mark Levine

A very special thank you to Congregation Beth Yeshurun for annually hosting Pride Shabbat services and dinner. For years now, Beth Yeshurun has opened its doors, kicking off Pride weekend with a Jewish celebration of inclusion. A personal thanks to my friends –Rabbi Strauss, Rabbi Morgen, Rabbi Fort, Cantor Goldman, and Executive Director Andy Berger, for providing me the opportunity to speak in this truly holy place.

In this...Read more...

Tzei L’shalom, Bo L’shalom   Go in peace, Return in peace.

04/26/2023 10:19:27 AM

Apr26

Cantor Mark Levine

There is an inherent excitement to setting out on a journey across this beautiful planet. Novel experiences, original understandings, an encounter with varied cultures and a jaunt through the past hoping to construct broadened horizons for the...Read more...

Avadim Hayinu

04/03/2023 11:57:10 AM

Apr3

Cantor Mark LEvine

This past Sunday, I explored Athens, Greece, a land whose great history parallels that of Israel. Our guide repeatedly referenced a 400-year period under Turkish rule, a dark time in Greek history. Reflecting on just how much occurred during the 15th-19th centuries, on all that happened in the world, and on the progress made, it made real for me the enduring and endless nature of the 400 period of slavery in Egypt under the Pharaohs. It was...Read more...

Holiness in Time

03/30/2023 08:57:20 AM

Mar30

Cantor Mark Levine

As commonly experienced, cruising at sea for an extended period often results in the loss of markers of time. Each hour, each day blends into the next without distinction. Aboard a cruise ship, one is never fully sure what day it is, and subsequently, time passes without notice.

A recent study on the perceived notion that time progresses more quickly with age, suggested that the phenomena is the result of the lack of those very...Read more...

Oseh Ma’asei Vereishit

03/21/2023 11:28:44 AM

Mar21

Cantor Mark Levine

Oseh Ma’asei Vereishit

Sitting on a balcony aboard a cruise ship on my way to Portugal, I am listening to the world’s most beautifully composed music, the haunting sound of the waves.  Together with the vision of the breaking water, its smell, and a light breeze, my mind wanders to words of blessing: Baruch Ata…oseh ma’asei vereishit,  - Praised are You…Who has created an incredible...Read more...

Tradition and Change

03/13/2023 08:23:00 AM

Mar13

Cantor Mark Levine

Time.  The passage of time.  As I strolled the streets of London, I was struck by a series of red phone booths (sorry about the picture quality – I’ll keep my day job) often surrounded by throngs of people.  However, as quickly became apparent, the booths were not being used as I had assumed – people were merely posing alongside a relic of the past (ironically pictures taken by cell phones). There was, nonetheless,...Read more...

Ashamed!

03/07/2023 11:29:38 AM

Mar7

Cantor Mark Levine

As I arrived in Southampton, the departure site for a cruise along the North Sea, I entered a coffee shop and purchased the London Times.  To my utter dismay, the headline announced “Unsafe Schools Where Jewish Boys Can Barely Read English.”

The investigation described thousands of Jewish boys enrolled in Hassidic institutions, boys, in their mid teens, who were unable to read English, who had acquired minimal, if any, math...Read more...

Sun, June 16 2024 10 Sivan 5784