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Congregation Beth Israel's eNews for August 12, 2016


Friday, August 12
6:30 p.m.
Shabbat Summer Service
(Gordon Chapel)
includes Quinquennial Wedding Anniversary Blessings
Rabbi David Lyon,

Cantor Daniel Mutlu,
Rabbi Adrienne Scott,
Rabbi Joshua Herman

Saturday, August 13
8:30 a.m.
Shabbat Morning Minyan
(Gordon Chapel)

9:45 a.m.
Torah Study
(Finger Board Room)
Rabbi David Lyon

See the Worship Schedule




Bulletins are published as follows: September, November, January, March, May and July.
Click here to view our bulletin archive.
Members who wish to receive Temple bulletins online may now click the link above to read and/or download the latest copy of the Bulletin. If you prefer to receive your Bulletin online, and you have not contacted our offices to have your name removed from the snail mail list, please do so by clicking here.



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*online member directory
*update your member info
*view your yahrzeit list
*pay dues online
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Each login requires an email as a login ID. If your family is in need of a login please click here and email us your member name and email address!

Rabbi Lyon on the Radio
Rabbi David A. Lyon may be heard on Sunday mornings, 6:45 a.m., KODA, Sunny 99.1 FM radio


Words and things are different, but not in Hebrew. In Hebrew, “Devarim” means both words and things. The difference between them becomes clear only in context. The fact is that our Devarim (words) can be healing, compassionate, empathetic, and even politically correct when they are mindfully chosen. Every conversation between people, whether they're spouses or strangers, deserves words that reflect the best in us and the potential we hope to find in relationship with others.

This past week, I was in the Dominican Republic for my son's destination wedding. I speak very little Spanish, so I depended on basic Spanish vocabulary, simple English, and lots of appropriate hand gestures. Each word was mindfully chosen to create a shared experience where resort staff and I both accomplished what we needed. Courteous words, even in broken Spanish sentences, drew smiles and speedy assistance, too.You don't have to travel far from home to use respectful words, but failing to do so in any language can be very harmful. Speaking above a person's understanding just to gain control, or speaking offensively just to demonstrate power, disables the positive potential that can be found in any relationship and leaves everyone feeling unnecessarily insecure and fearful. In these cases, words become Devarim (things) or weapons that destroy rather than build up.

Used mindfully, words convey mutual respect even when they convey difficult messages. Used like weapons, they destroy both the user and the victim. That's why there is a fuss made by mindful people to use politically correct words. It has nothing to do with sanitizing our language as if one's mother was washing out her child's mouth with soap. It has nothing to do with avoiding the truth, as if anyone isn't completely aware of the meaning of a carefully crafted message. On the contrary, words that once suited us in the past also conveyed messages and made inferences about people and issues that we've long ago learned more about and grew to respect. So-called "Politically Correct" words match our contemporary sensibilities about race, sexuality, equality, and so much more. It's in the power of these words that we express our willingness to grow our vocabulary and discover the power to be more fully human.


AUGUST 18, 2016 AT 7 PM
This year for the High Holy Days we will welcome a new High Holy Day prayer book that includes gender-neutral translations, rich commentaries, meaningful readings and poetry, and accessible transliteration. A generous anonymous donor has made these prayer books available to all who attend the High Holy Day services at Beth Israel. If any family or individual would like to dedicate books in honor or memory of a loved one, please contact Jared Pickett, 713-771-6221 x305, to do so. For the purpose of personal reflection or livestreaming services at home, the separate purchase of Mishkan HaNefesh can also be arranged by contacting Jared.
Also, please note that our next Mishkan HaNefesh orientation session will be held in the Lewis President’s Room at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 18. RSVP to Jodi Cortez, 713-271-7369.

Beth Israel's Leisure Club will have a Game Day when they meet in Wolff-Toomim Hall on Wednesday, August 24. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. and at 12:15 p.m. the games will begin. $10.00 per person. Your check is your reservation. For questions contact Marsha Gilbert, 713-771-6221 x336.

Big Band Shabbat is being underwritten by
Diane and Stanley Novy

Coming to Jazz Shabbat? Join us for a congregational dinner, immediately following the service in the Margolis Gallery (be sure to use the main entrance). Sharon K. Benoff, WRJ Executive Committee member, will give a brief talk about what Women of Reform Judaism is doing now to benefit the Reform Movement around the globe. Dinner is $18 per person in advance, $25 on the day of the event. RSVP to: Marsha Gilbert ( or 713-771-6221. We look forward to seeing you there!

“Open Hands, Open Hearts” is the theme of the WRJ Houston Area Event, to be held on Sunday, August 28, here at Congregation Beth Israel. Beginning at 9:00 a.m., we will enjoy a morning of learning, networking, and fun with women from many of the reform congregations in our area. Sharon K. Benoff, WRJ Executive Committee member, will speak, along with other WRJ leaders. The cost is $10 per person. Have questions? Want to RSVP? Contact: Anita Seline (, or 713-777-4315.


The following couples are celebrating their quinquennial wedding anniversaries during the month of August. They will be blessed on Friday, August 12 at the 6:30 p.m. service in the Gordon Chapel.

Mazel Tov!

5 years – Randee & Jay Kaplan
10 years – Alexandra Stevens & Michael Miles
15 years – Elizabeth & Frank Karkowsky
15 years – Felicia & Benjamin Lewin
15 years – Rabbi Adrienne & David Scott
20 years – Melissa & Lawrence Jacobs
25 years – Dana & Marc Oster
30 years – Karen & Howard Bookstaff
30 years – Lynn & Michael Rosenberg
30 years – Shari & Michael Wolf
35 years – Randi & Stuart Brightman
35 years – Heather & Bob Westendarp
35 years – Jamie & Bert Wolf
40 years – Robyn & Ed Gavrila
40 years Sandy & Michael O'Connor
40 years – Esther & J.P. Pritchard
45 years – Jean & Ronald Ladin
45 years – Ellen & Stephen Leventhal
50 years – Barbara & Marshall Bendalin
50 years – Barby & Leonard Weiner
55 years – Rochelle & Max Levit
55 years – Emily & Alton Steiner


Do you know any young people moving back to Houston or new to H-town who are in their 20’s or 30’s? Maybe recent college or graduate school grads? Or perhaps someone who’s just landed a job here? If so, Beth Israel wants to welcome and help connect them to Houston’s thriving Jewish network of social/educational/service organizations for young adults, including Beth Israel’s very active ATID group. Newcomers and native Houstonians alike can get involved in so many fantastic and fun events–from social justice projects to happy hours–all while meeting and mixing with other singles and young marrieds from all around town. Please send any names you have, including email addresses and cell numbers, to Rabbi Herman at so we can start reaching out to them during this very exciting time in their lives.

Are you interested in welcoming our new members to Beth Israel? Volunteer to be a Beth Israel Ambassador. As an ambassador you will connect with new members at Shabbat services or at Temple programs and events. For more information, please contact Bonnie Hochstein at or Anne Diskin

The Readers' Group will take a Summer Break for the months of July and August. The next meeting will be Wednesday, September 21st at 1:30 p.m. in the Lewis President's Room. Interim Executive Director and Director of Lifelong Learning David Scott will lead the discussion of "The Children Act" by Ian McEwan. All congregants and friends are welcome to attend. For more information, contact Judy Weidman, Temple Librarian, 713-820-6410.

The Schachtel Library summer hours are 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Librarian Judy Weidman will be in the Library during those hours. Click here to visit the library web page.

Beth Israel Sisterhood's Judaica Shop is open 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. weekdays for the summer. Contact Anita Seline, 713-777-4315 for information.

visit our website
for information on other upcoming events.


Rabbi David Lyon's book, God of Me: Imagining God throughout Your Lifetime, Cantor Daniel Mutlu's CD, A Musical Year at Beth Israel, Rabbi Samuel Karff's two disc set of sermons, Words Spoken from My Mind and Soul, and Rabbi Karff's latest book, For This You Were Created, are all available through our Judaica Shop, and Click below for more information.


 “Live from Beth Israel…It’s Shabbat at Beth Israel”
Has a New Home

That’s correct! In addition to upgrading and adding new equipment provided by funds from our generous donors, we have a new internet address for our streamed events. Going forward you can locate us by:

Either way, we encourage you to follow us and enjoy our streamed events. If you have saved a favorite or bookmark at your device please update it to our new address. We will continue to tweak the new page throughout the summer. Currently no email address is required before view. This will change soon so we may continue to reach out to our global audience. Thank you for your patience as we work to bring a more enhanced and updated online experience to you.

Live broadcast of our services and events are made possible through the generous donations provided by the following:

Donations to the streaming fund are always appreciated.

To honor or memorialize, your donations help keep Shabbat services and community connected. Click here to make your donation.

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