Congregation Beth Israel's eNews for February 3, 2017
 
WORSHIP SCHEDULE

Friday, February 3
  6:30 p.m.
Shabbat Chapel Service
(Gordon Chapel)
Rabbi Joshua Herman,
Rabbi David Lyon,
Rabbi Adrienne Scott

Saturday, February 4
8:30 a.m.
Shabbat Morning Minyan
(Gordon Chapel)

9:45 a.m.
Torah Study
(Finger Board Room)
David Scott, Executive Director & Director of Lifelong Learning

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...

Jewish thought is complex. It’s not complicated; it’s just complex, and multiple opinions are the norm. The tradition of holding in mind two or more opinions is rooted in Talmud. The dialectical method, by definition, pushed boundaries and invited inquiry until one opinion held sway over other alternatives. Even then, time and circumstances invited more commentary and sometimes a former conclusion was revised. If it reminds you of the precedent of Case Law, it should, because it’s virtually the same. The result is that it uniquely prepared the Jewish world to encounter and address the world throughout history.

Today, we can encounter and address the world better prepared than most others, but only if we embrace the dialectical method for similar reasons that the Talmudists did. Their goal was to preserve Torah teachings and its inherent and subsequent lessons. Our goal is to preserve the Constitution and subsequent Case Law. As Reform Jews, our aim is to engage in that process, which is inextricably tied to evolutionary changes in culture and religion. Inevitably, they present us with objectionable challenges we feel compelled to protest, or reasonable outcomes we feel prepared to accept, or both.

In an "Outlook” article published in the Houston Chronicle on June 23, 2015, I wrote, "In the wrong hands, we err when we use the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Bible and the Koran as eternal law codes. At best, they are human words inspired by faith that guide us to their highest ideals for love between humankind and love between us and God. We ascribe to these words a sacred quality due to their remarkable journey from ancient times down to our own. Having succeeded in reaching us, the obligation of the faithful is to discern from their ancient and translated syntax and context the greatest lessons for our times. Today, we have more understanding about the natural world than any generation before us. We have defined universal boundaries for crimes against humanity, and we know that 2000 year-old prohibitions against some sins bear little if any resemblance to the environment in which we think we find them, today. The evolution of human thought that came from individual and social aspirations for knowledge and understanding was supposed to help us conclude that perspectives on human equality, racial, sexual, religious, etc., evolved, too. It isn’t enough to thump our Bibles to point at our claim on divine understanding and ultimate authority.”

Continue reading here...

HAPPENING THIS WEEK

MINDFULNESS AND MEDITATION WITH ANN FRIEDMAN, PH.D.
FEBRUARY 7
Dr. Ann Friedman, a psychologist and certified mindfulness instructor, will conclude this three-part series on Tuesday, February 7 at 7:00 p.m. in the Margolis Gallery. Mindfulness is all about learning to pay attention to the present moment with an openness, curiosity, and kindness. Together with Dr. Friedman, we will explore how mindfulness is part of our Jewish tradition. There is no cost to attend, but please RSVP to Jodi Cortez at jcortez@beth-israel.org.

ISRAELI SHABBAT DINNER WITH ATID - FEBRUARY 10
Join Atid, Beth Israel’s 20’s and 30’s, for an Israeli-themed Shabbat dinner on Friday, February 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ladin Dining Room. We will enjoy Israeli food and learn from Herut Gez, one of our community shlichim (emissaries) about her personal story growing up in Israel. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Linda Collins at lcollins@beth-israel.org.

COFFEE TALK IN THE MARGOLIS GALLERY
Join us at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, February 12, as Professor Cengiz Sisman speaks on "Sephardic Judaism & Shabbatai Sevi:  Mysteries Solved." Professor Sisman is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Houston's Clear Lake campus. This Coffee Talk is sponsored by the Religious School Advisory Board and the Library Committee.

LYON COHEN MERIT SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION NOW AVAILABLE
Our highly successful Lyon Cohen Symposium returns this spring on Thursday, April 27, 2017 in Wolff-Toomim Hall. Mark your calendars now! We are also excited to expand our $2500 Lyon Cohen Merit Scholarship to any graduate school student in our congregation. Applications are available by clicking here. The application submission deadline is February 15, 2017.
 
SISTERHOOD NEWS
Sisterhood invites women to sign up for next week’s workshop: "Making Meaning of our Lives: Past, Present, and Future.” This seminar will meet on the 4 Tuesday mornings in February at 10:00 a.m. Dr. Miriam Friedman will lead this intimate workshop geared toward selecting impactful life events and reflecting on them with perspective and a Jewish lens. Space is limited.  Please RSVP to sisterhood@beth-israel.org.

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

SISTERHOOD'S 5 THINGS SERIES CONTINUES
Sisterhood continues its free 5-part series, "5 Things Every Woman Needs to Know" on Wednesday, February 15 at 5:30 p.m. Wendy Burgower will speak about divorce, custody, and family violence issues. Wendy is a founding partner at Burgower and Rainwater and is considered one of the most respected family law attorneys in the state. RSVP to sisterhood@beth-israel.org.

DENIAL: FEBRUARY 16 AT 7:00 P.M.
This 2016 British-American historical drama film, based on Deborah Lipstadt's book History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier, will be screened at Beth Israel, Thursday, February 16. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. We will be joined by Chief Judge Lee H. Rosenthal of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, who will help put the film in context for us. Author Deborah Lipstadt will be Beth Israel's Scholar-in-Residence on Friday and Saturday, March 31-April 1. This Adult Education Movie Night is sponsored by Beth Israel's Adult Education Committee.There is no cost to attend, but RSVP to David Scott, 713-771-6221 x612.

GILAD KARIV, SCHOLAR-IN-RESIDENCE, FEBRUARY 17-19
Rabbi Gilad Kariv, Executive Director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, will join us for the weekend of February 17-19. He will speak at our Shabbat Evening Service, 6:30 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday morning Rabbi Kariv will speak at Torah Study in the Finger Board Room, 9:45 a.m., and at Havdallah in the Lewis President's Room at 6:00 p.m., just prior to Cantor Mutlu's concert with Swiss-based Profeti della Quinta in the Gordon Chapel. This will be a concert of Psalms, prayers and madrigals written by composer Salomone Rossi (ca. 1570-1630). Rabbi Kariv will also be presenting at the Jewish Federation's Yom Limmud on Sunday morning at 9:00.

FRIENDS OF MARGOLIS GALLERY...
invite you to The Sexuality Spectrum Art Exhibition. Join us in viewing this thought-provoking exhibit highlighting ideas of inclusion and justice surrounding sexuality. The show, curated by Hebrew Union College's museum, is a collection of myriad artists who present an unbridled portrayal of the experiences of being sexual outside narrow conventions and the inherent joys, pains, and conflicts. The Margolis Gallery is open 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. weekdays, except Friday, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Our next esteemed speaker will be Rabbi Mychal Copeland, Bay Area Director of InterfaithFamily Network. She works with multi-faith and Jewish groups that engage with the intersection of LGBTQI and religious identities. Rabbi Copeland will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 21. RSVP to Sara Kaiser, 713-771-6221 x301, three days prior.

STÉPHANE GERSON -- WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22
Stéphane Gerson, cultural historian and professor of French studies at New York University, will speak in the Gordon Chapel at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22. Mr. Gerson's book, Disaster Falls: A Family Story, tells the story of the loss of his son, Owen, who drowned on a rafting trip down Utah's Green River, at a point known as Disaster Falls. 

NEW AIPAC VIDEO
Click this link for a new video from AIPAC documenting efforts to help shape the U.S.-Israel relationship.

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.

 

Join us for Mitzvah Day on Sunday, April 23!

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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