Congregation Beth Israel's eNews for December 2, 2016


 
WORSHIP SCHEDULE

Friday, December 2
6:30 p.m.
Shabbat Sanctuary Service
(Sanctuary)
  Rabbi David Lyon,
Cantor Daniel Mutlu
Rabbi Adriennne Scott

Saturday, December 3
8:30 a.m.
Shabbat Morning Minyan
(Gordon Chapel)

9:45 a.m.
Torah Study
(Finger Board Room)
Cantor Daniel Mutlu

11:00 a.m.
Shabbat Morning Service
(Sanctuary)

5:30 p.m.
Havdalah Service
(Gordon Chapel)
Cantor Daniel Mutlu

See the Worship Schedule


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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

FROM THE RABBI...

"Va-yeet-rohtz-etzu”. Easy for you to say. It’s alliterative. It’s the Hebrew word in this week’s Torah portion that describes how the twins, Jacob and Esau, spent their time in utero. Translations tell us they "struggled with each other” or "they pushed against one another”. While struggling or pushing against one another, their mother Rebekah asked, "Why do I exist?” (Genesis 26:22). God said to her:

Two nations are in your womb,
Two separate peoples shall issue from your body;
One people shall be mightier than the other,
And the other shall serve the younger.
(Genesis 26:23)

Esau emerged first. He was hairy and ruddy (thus Eisav). Torah describes him as "ish sadeh”; he grew up to be a man of the field who preferred the hunt. Jacob emerged second, smooth-skinned and barely holding onto the heel of his brother (thus Ya’akov). Torah describes him as "ish tam, yosheiv o-halim”; he grew up to be a mild man who preferred to stay at home. The brothers were of the same womb yet their destinies could not have been more different.

Continue reading here...


HAPPENING THIS WEEK

WILDFIRES
This week Israel has suffered from a wave of wildfires with some 1,773 distinct blazes burning in the northern and central parts of the country. Even more frightening is the revelation that some of this month’s fires may have been set intentionally as terrorist acts. Israeli authorities believe that as many as 25 of these fires may have been the result of arson and have already made several arrests as the investigation continues.

Despite the frightening and sad events of recent weeks, there is reason for hope too. Israel has received fire-fighting assistance from countries around the world, including the U.S. and even the Palestinian Authority. Here at Beth Israel we can help too by donating to organizations with special funds and efforts to assist in the response to and recovery from the fires. Please consider contributing to funds set up by The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, the Jewish National Fund, or Magen David Adom. Together with our contributions and prayers, assistance from around the world, and the Israeli spirit of resilience and ingenuity, we can hope for a speedy recovery for the land and people of Israel.

OUR SANCTUARY IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION
It’s time to renovate the sanctuary. Since the flooding of recent times, which damaged the sanctuary, underground repairs have been completed. Now, the sanctuary is dry and ready. An able team has lent their expertise in design and décor to prepare the sanctuary for renovations and reveal. From the beginning of December until mid-January, new carpeting will be installed throughout the Sanctuary, Wolff-Toomim Hall, and down the Karff and Barnston Hallways. Inside the Sanctuary, new wallpaper, new bimah chair upholstery, and a special redesign of our lower bimah will enhance the space. The lower bimah will be brought forward and closer to the seats; a permanent handicap ramp will enable everyone to ascend the bimah, and space will be made for wheelchair users to sit closer to the bimah with their families. Finally, hearing-aid capabilities will be upgraded to allow anyone in the Sanctuary or Wolff-Toomim Hall to hear more clearly. The vision for the sanctuary was provided by our clergy, who enjoy using the lower bimah to come closer to the congregation. Special thanks are due Rabbi Adrienne Scott and the Inclusion Committee for their attention to design changes to benefit those with special needs. And, thank you to Shirley Toomim and her team for the choice of colors and fabrics that will enhance the beauty of our sacred space. On January 20, 2017, Down Home Shabbat, a special musical and new member service, we will reveal our brand new Sanctuary space. Beginning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, we’ll also welcome Mayor Turner and other dignitaries who were supportive to us and our neighbors after the floods. It will be an exciting and historic event in our Congregation. Join us for this special night of celebration. For further questions about this project and our plans for January 20, 2017, please contact David Scott at (713) 771-6221 or dscott@beth-israel.org.

FRIENDS OF THE MARGOLIS GALLERY INVITE YOU TO:
FIELD EXPLORATIONS
Reception: Sunday, December 4, 2016 / 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Special insights from Rabbi Adrienne Scott and David Scott, 10:00 a.m.
Exhibit on view through December 30
RSVP to Sara Kaiser, 713-771-6221, by Wednesday, November 30

LEISURE CLUB
Join us for A CHANUKAH CELEBRATION, featuring Cantor Daniel Mutlu on Wednesday, December 7. Lunch will begin at 11:30 a.m. It will include brisket, latkes and gelt. Cost is $10.00 per person. Your check is your reservation. For further information, please contact Marsha Gilbert, 713-771-6221 x336. Leisure Club will meet in The Margolis Gallery. Seating Limited.


UPCOMING EVENTS

SISTERHOOD NEWS
Sisterhood invites you and your children to decorate Chanukah cookies on Sunday, December 11, 1:00-3:00 p.m.  RSVP to Jamie at 713-542-2179 or jbisel@comcast.net. Space is limited. 

BETH ISRAEL READERS' GROUP
The Readers' Group will meet in the Margolis Gallery, 1:30 p.m.on Wednesday, December 14. The group  will listen to the score of "Hamilton" and enjoy selected videos of the performance. Congregants are welcome to attend. RSVP to Librarian Judy Weidman, 713-771-6221 x370.

RABBI KARFF TO SPEAK AT THE "CONCEPT OF THE DIVINE" SERIES AT ROTHKO CHAPEL ON DECEMBER 15, 2016
The "three amigos” Rabbi Samuel Karff, Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, and Rev. William Lawson share their interfaith work and how it’s influenced their own spirituality in service to the community, moderated by Melanie Lawson, award winning journalist. Rabbi Karff is Rabbi Emeritus at Congregation Beth Israel; Archbishop Fiorenza is Archbishop Emeritus of Galveston-Houston; and Rev. Lawson is the founding pastor of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. A reception follows the program. To register for the event, please click here http://rothkochapel.org/experience/events/register/761.

THE SEVENTH ANNUAL JEWISH/MUSLIM CHRISTMAS:
AN INTERFAITH DIALOGUE
- DECEMBER 24, 12:30-2:30 P.M.
On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, we will join with members of the Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism (HCRJ) and members of the Houston Muslim community in an annual Jewish/Muslim Christmas program. This year our time together is more important than ever before. According to the newly released FBI report on hate crimes, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim hate crimes are on the rise throughout the United States. "We must not stand idly by;” we must respond to hatred with love; we must stand together and show our support. This year’s program also falls on the first night of Chanukah, and our discussion will be about celebrating light and hope in our respective communities. The event will take place at the Hilton Americas hotel near the George R. Brown Convention Center on Saturday, December 24, 12:30—2:30 p.m. For more information and to RSVP, please contact David Scott, Interim Executive Director and Director of Lifelong Learning at (713) 771-6221 or at dscott@beth-israel.org.

BETH ISRAEL IS GOING TO CUBA!
Join Rabbi Lyon for an experience of a lifetime. Our trip will be May 6-13, 2017 with direct flights from Houston to Havana, Cuba. During your trip you will engage with the historic Jewish community, learn more about the political and cultural landscape of the country, and experience the beauty of the Cuban coastline. For more information, please contact David Scott at dscott@beth-israel.org or call (713) 771-6221.

SHARE THE LOAD
Donations to Share the Load help close the gap between our budgeted expenses and our actual expenses for many of our programs. Click this link to see a copy of our Share the Load brochure for 2016-2017.

WE NEED BAKERS!
Each Friday night after Shabbat services, we all enjoy the oneg, visiting with each other and eating challah and sweets.  We need help to ensure we have enough of those sweets! No need to be fancy. Even purchasing something is ok. Please contact Berne Black if you can help at berne.black@att.net or 713-459-4235.
 

BETH ISRAEL HOSTS THE HOLOCAUST MUSEUM OF HOUSTON'S "BUTTERFLY PROJECT"
Through the end of December, Beth Israel is hosting part of the Holocaust Museum of Houston's Butterfly Exhibit in the Sanctuary Foyer, which includes handmade butterflies to commemorate the children who perished in the Holocaust. The exhibit helps us focus on themes of memory, social justice and forgiveness.

JOIN BETH ISRAEL IN WASHINGTON, DC MARCH 26-28, 2017
Please register today and be part of our growing Beth Israel delegation to the AIPAC Policy Conference next March 26-28, 2017. To register for the AIPAC Policy Conference, please click here. If you have any questions, please contact David Scott, 713-771-6221 x612.

LIBRARY NEWS
Click here to visit the library web page.

JUDAICA SHOP
Beth Israel Sisterhood's Judaica Shop is open Monday - Friday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Wednesday until 5:00 p.m.; Sundays 9:30 a.m. until Noon.
Contact Anita Seline, 713-777-4315 for information.

PLEASE visit our website for information on other upcoming events.

BRING THE GIFT OF BETH ISRAEL HOME!

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 amazon.com. Click below for more information.






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