Gratitude for 165 Years

Gratitude for 165 Years

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Gratitude for 165 Years

Rabbi Karff used to say, “The only thing worse than a boring Annual Meeting is an interesting one.” Thankfully, we haven’t had an interesting Annual Meeting in a long time. Due to our commitment to stewardship of our budget, care for our personnel, and gratitude for our blessings, our Annual Meetings have been, well, boring.

This year, we celebrate the end of our 165th year. Only five years ago, we commissioned the People’s Torah. It was the first Torah that our congregational family participated in completing with the role of a Sofer, a Torah scribe. Since then, the Torah has been used every Shabbat for every bar/bat mitzvah and special holiday.

Next week, on June 4th, our Annual Meeting will highlight special individuals:

• Rabbi Chase Foster will be thanked for his two years of service to Beth Israel. He and Sarah will make their new home in Cleveland, where he will lead JHub, an initiative for young professionals.

• Ensign Jerry Bailes award will be given to an outstanding Confirmation student from the class of 2019. This student will be honored by Joe Chesnick Jr., who will speak about his late uncle, a war hero, and whose name is remembered through this annual award.

• Lyon Cohen Merit Scholarship will be given to an outstanding college student who best exemplifies the ethics and character of Lyon Cohen, the late husband of Ellen Cohen and the father of Marcie Zlotnik. The Lyon Cohen Symposium is a bi-annual program and will be held next Spring 2020.

• Rabbi Samuel E. Karff Scholarship is awarded to upper-classmen and women in high school who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership and commitment to Beth Israel, just as Rabbi Karff did for 24 years as senior rabbi and as he continues to support us now.

• Patrick Colbert Volunteer of the Year Award and Volunteer Spirit Awards will be given to members who have demonstrated exceptional support to the Congregation over the year and have been nominated by members of the congregation for recognition.

Highlights of the evening will focus on our achievements in 2018-2019, and how we’re preparing for the New Year. Our gratitude begins with you for sustaining Congregation Beth Israel in its mission to fulfill our obligations as Jewish individuals and families in worship, education and community. Our gratitude is not complete without thanks to God, for all that we have known together.

Thank you for joining us at the Annual Meeting, June 4th, at 6:30pm, in Wolff-Toomim Hall. Please call 713-771-6221, for dinner reservation or to let us know that you’re coming for the business meeting.

Rabbi David A. Lyon is Senior Rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel in Houston, TX. Rabbi Lyon serves on the Board of Trustees of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and chairs its professional development committee. He is the author of God of Me: Imagining God Throughout Your Lifetime (Jewish Lights, 2011) available on He can be heard on “iHeart-Radio” KODA 99.1 FM every Sunday at 6:45am CST. Listeners around the greater Houston area, and now the internet, tune in to hear his words about life and its meaning from a Jewish point-of-view. Each radio program is available as a Podcast, called “Heart to Heart with Rabbi David Lyon”. Click here to listen online, or download the iHeartRadio app.