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Our Journey Guides are My Heroes

04/15/2019 08:03:22 AM

Apr15

Journey is a labor of love.  Truly, a labor of love.  I dedicate this blog entry to the Journey Guides, 2018-19.  Who are they?  In alphabetical order:

Sandy Boccara

Laurie Gass 

Cynthia Gbadebo

Jay Goldberg

Read more...

Stormy Weather with Clearer Skies Approaching

04/09/2019 08:21:19 AM

Apr9

“Arguing against intermarriage is like arguing against the weather,” said Egon Mayer, the founder of the Jewish Outreach Institute well over thirty years ago.  I’ll never forget the expert historical claim of my professor, Rabbi David Ellenson, who taught us that in every emancipated Jewish community throughout history, by the third generation, 1/3 of Jews married people from non-Jewish backgrounds.  And yet, despite...Read more...

Shtisel Is Must See TV

03/31/2019 01:18:04 AM

Mar31

We live in an ironic world.  The more our “real politicians” seem to be frozen in 2 dimensions, with little depth, TV characters seem to be getting deeper and far more reflective, of themselves and of us.  Natalie and I just finished watching Shtisel, a 2-season Israeli hit TV show (with English subtitles) that aired in 2013 and 2014, but only just made it to the Netflix “airwaves” this year. Shtisel isn’t...Read more...

Eventually Has Arrived 

03/24/2019 09:12:41 PM

Mar24

“Eventually has arrived.”  These words a friend of mine recently shared with me in a catch-up phone call, describing a recent reunion with an old friend.  He explained, “I just had to take the time, the gift of time.”  For it is fleeting.   Youth is for those who believe in things they will eventually accomplish, when they have time, when things are in order, once we have finally grown up.  I hear lots of...Read more...

“Don’t worry, that voice telling you to act like a jerk will fade, if you let it…”

03/18/2019 09:41:10 PM

Mar18

The Torah, AKA Part 1 of the Hebrew Bible (the other two are the “Prophets” and the “Writings”), contains the Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.  These books form a holy and sacred text that might better be described as a mélange, a pastiche, if you will, a smattering of stories, rules, guidelines, and genealogies.  As the mystical writers adjure us, “Do not call the Torah a book...Read more...

You had me  at  Shalom!

03/11/2019 10:43:54 PM

Mar11

This is an article about money and Congregation Shma Koleinu. I am telling you this up front so you don’t feel sideswiped or bamboozled but please also DON’T STOP READING.  This is an article about money and Congregation Shma Koleinu because if the Sages of old could so easily recognize, im ein kemach ain Torah, (if there is no bread-$$-money, there is no Torah), then this has been an issue that has required some regular and historic...Read more...

I'm In

03/03/2019 08:32:03 PM

Mar3

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

One of the most profound moments of a Bar or Bat Mitzvah occurs when a parent or parents stand with their child and deliver what we call “The Parent’s Speech.” I cannot speak for all other congregations but I know that at Shma Koleinu, our B’nai Mitzvah parents are encouraged to speak to their child about the meaning of this moment, what it feels like to be their parent, and perhaps a bit of life wisdom peppered in for good measure....Read more...

A Garden Filled with Hate

02/23/2019 08:46:26 PM

Feb23

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

A friend of mine sent some others and me an email that was a bit alarming, especially coming from her. Some of you may have read about or heard about a short documentary film, A Night at the Garden, which was nominated for an Academy Award. The film runs 7 minutes and is built entirely upon documentary footage of an actual American Nazi rally that took place on February 20, 1939, inside of Madison Square Garden. It was attended by 20,000...Read more...

 "A Courtroom is No Place for the Ten Commandments" - upon the investiture of Judge James Horwitz, Harris Country Probate Court 4, January 25, 2019 

01/26/2019 01:58:56 PM

Jan26

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

Good afternoon.  My name is Scott Hausman-Weiss and I am a Rabbi in Houston for Congregation Shma Koleinu – A synagogue without walls, membership or dues.  Taking a cue from our ancient ancestors as we move from venue to venue, and considering how hot it can get here in Houston, one might think we are truly channeling our desert-wandering ancestors.  They say that if Moses had been a woman, the Israelites would never have...Read more...

Tonight Shabbat @ the Merfish with Rabbi Scott and Josh Levine and Next Week -A Very Sweet Tu B'Shvat a la Dessert Gallery

01/11/2019 03:53:24 PM

Jan11

Shabbat Tonight - January 11
​​​​​​​Please plan to join us tonight in
just a few hours for Shabbat at the Merfish
6 pm - Oneg; 6:30 pm SRead more...

A Very Sweet Tu B'Shvat Featuring Dessert Gallery

01/09/2019 08:07:19 PM

Jan9

Join Us for a Sweet Tu B'Shvat Featuring RSVP You read that right.Sara Brook of Dessert Gallery has teamed with Shma Koleinu tRead more...

A Dickens Thanksgiving

11/23/2018 08:51:09 AM

Nov23

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity"…it seems that these words profoundly ring true now as much as ever.   The plagues of our time seem to be rearing their ugly head with greater ferocity…floods, fires, drug addiction, political malfeasance, income disparity, climate change and pollution…take...Read more...

Haters Need Not Apply

11/01/2018 04:34:14 PM

Nov1

Growing up in my parents' house, we didn’t have a ton of rules.  Not a lot that I can remember, for sure.  But I do remember two that stand out in ways that certainly at the time, made my eyes roll every time I’d hear my mom repeat them.  One was that not only were we not allowed to have toy guns, beebee guns or water guns, we weren’t even allowed to turn our fingers into guns and pretend-shoot.  I know, a little...Read more...

Nachamu Nachamu Ami - Take Comfort O  My People

10/28/2018 09:53:47 PM

Oct28

As the prophetic words go, “Nachamu, Nachamu Ami,” “Comfort, O Take comfort, my people.” May comfort and resolve and bravery and courage arise from these horrific days of hate. The idea of someone entering our sacred spaces and profaning them in the most grotesque of ways is truly impossible to imagine, except that now and truly, in days before now, it isn’t and it wasn’t. I am at a loss for words but not for action. Now is the...Read more...

Rushushunna and Yum Kipper 101 A High Holy Day Primer 

09/03/2018 12:52:15 PM

Sep3

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

For days that are supposed to be filled with meaningful prayer and soulful fasting, the rush of the High Holy days and their focus on food, clothing, family and friends can be overwhelming for Jews and sometimes a little bit confounding for their neighbors.  So in an effort to offer a review for my fellow Jews an a primer for their neighbors, following are a few FAQ’s on the subject.

Q: Does anybody else think it’s funny that...Read more...

Harvey’s Hubris and My Humble Reply

08/02/2018 08:22:02 AM

Aug2

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

Also available in the August 2018 digital version of the Meyerlander Monthly.

Harvey was a most unwelcome guest to a party none of us planned. And despite the fact that Harvey was such a party pooper, he didn’t push people away from the party – in fact, the more Harvey poured himself on to our party, the more and more the people came. By foot, by boat, by plane and train, rescuing, saving, offering their most sincere efforts to...Read more...

J’accuse NFL!

05/24/2018 04:50:02 PM

May24

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

I remember quite well when I learned about the Nazis that sought to march down the streets of Skokie, IL in 1978.  I remember a teacher and a Rabbi trying to inspire us with the devastatingly complicated notion that free speech in America was so sacred, was so respected, that even this most hateful speech and especially those who spoke it, had to be protected by the full force of the law.  That their right to regale publicly in...Read more...

Wheelchair Basketball has Been Berry, Berry Good to Me

04/26/2018 05:10:43 PM

Apr26

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

The call hit me like a ton of bricks.  Natalie on the other end of the line sharing with me a devastatingly sad event that had occurred only days after we had moved to Houston in July of 2011.  A family on their way home to Houston had been in a terrible car wreck, only their three small children had survived, two of them, boys, were in critical condition.  Assuming they survived, they would be disabled for life.  I hung...Read more...

Purim: Whiskey and Wisdom

02/27/2018 09:05:06 AM

Feb27

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

Hatred is actually, simply, and at the most basic level, just ridiculous. And by “ridiculous,” I mean the Dictionary definition:

“Deserving or inviting derision or mockery, absurd; with synonyms such as laughable, silly and ludicrous.”

Hatred is ridiculous because it requires an expense of energy towards something or someone with which we do not want any contact. The irony, of course, is that...Read more...

A Flag, A Candle and a Pitcher of Water

01/20/2018 11:12:04 AM

Jan20

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

This is one of my favorite teachings: “I don’t care what denomination you’re a member of, as long as you’re ashamed of it.” Rabbi Yitz Greenberg is a sage of our day who understands and teaches, that no matter our affiliation, be it religious, political, national or academic, the moment that survival becomes the primary rationale, is the moment when the soul of the cause that gave it life is dead, or has at least been reconciled to...Read more...

Let it go!

08/16/2017 02:39:05 PM

Aug16

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

Why is it that haters won’t, in the end, stand up for what they believe? Why is it that Jew haters are the first to champion Holocaust Revisionism that attempts to prove that it didn’t happen? You’re a Nazi! You hate Jews! Why on earth would you try to erase that history? Shouldn’t you be proud of it? And why do racist southerners so boldly attempt to reframe the Civil War as the War of Northern Aggression claiming that it was their...Read more...

What this Jew thinks…

08/15/2017 04:03:58 PM

Aug15

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

To be clear, there are no good Nazis. Period. End of story. Assuming that one can make a solid argument that there is real and sustained and organized violence coming from the left, do we not believe that there is a difference between those who are fighting for freedom, equality, access and fairness for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, and religion and those who are fighting to exclude people from...Read more...

It’s time to read the Torah again

07/18/2017 04:28:21 PM

Jul18

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

The haters are right. Those whom they despise will overcome.  And someday, the ones despised will live in the homes of those who hated them.  

History is on the side of those whose religion, skin color, nationality, ethnic background, etc. have “caused” majorities throughout the world to blame them for every ill life has to offer.  

And if you don’t believe this is true, it’s time to read the Torah...Read more...

Why I Do Perform Jewish Weddings for Most Anyone Who Seeks Me Out…Period

07/02/2017 01:50:29 AM

Jul2

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

Having just read your “Letter for Couples of Jewish and non-Jewish Background,” I have some thoughts I would like to share with you. “Authenticity” + $5.00 will barely buy you a cup of coffee if it leads to closing the door on a couple that is seeking a Jewish wedding. This is not a “future of the Jewish people” issue. It’s an issue of presence in the present. I wonder how many “Jewish-Jewish” couples you have let go,...Read more...

Fences May Make Good Neighbors, They Also Keep People Out

06/30/2017 02:00:04 AM

Jun30

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

In response to this Torah commentary, I wrote the following:

With regard to intermarriage, the American Jewish community’s approach over the last 50 years has been a disaster and more than anything, the Rabbis and he synagogues are to blame. As a Reform Rabbi who has been performing marriages between Jews and non-Jews for the last 18 years, I know that Egon Mayer was right when he said, “Arguing against intermarriage is like...Read more...

Paying Attention and Letting Go – on Parashat Chukat

06/30/2017 01:57:56 AM

Jun30

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

If you’ve read even a few of my blog posts, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that I am a little obsessed with the ancient Israelites’ penchant for kvetching. With the story of the Exodus from Mitzrayim (Eygpt) and their 40-year wandering through the midbar (wilderness) so prominent in 4 of the 5 Books of Moses, their moaning, groaning and constant trope of “woe-as-us” ever streaming from their lips, is either a serious...Read more...

Getting Unstuck

06/20/2017 02:03:42 AM

Jun20

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

“Life’s too short.”  We hear this phrase often.  It or its equivalent can be found on coffee cups, bumper stickers and t-shirts.  But anyone who has ever spent any time being hurt or angry or livid has probably noticed that in these moments, life is anything but too short.  The pain, whether dull or intense, makes the wheels of life feel like they are moving through deep, thick mud.  And the more we try to push...Read more...

Opportunity Knocks: an argument for embracing intermarriage in Judaism

06/13/2017 02:05:32 AM

Jun13

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

A couple of nights ago, I sat with 7 couples raising Jewish children.  Of these seven couples, only one of them consisted of two Jewish partners.  In the other six couples raising Jewish children, one individual in each partnership with the “Jewish pedigree” had been disaffected, disconnected, or simply distanced from their Judaism.  Do you know what brought them back and into this living room?  The fact that they fell...Read more...

Why Do Jews Have Bleeding Hearts?

03/17/2017 02:06:59 AM

Mar17

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

Without claiming a moral supremacy, it is so important to remember why Jews always tend to commit themselves to lost causes, abandoned ideals and dreams of a better world. In short, its called Tikun Olam, the demand, the one single injunction all Jews cannot deny we are called to – Repair the world.  This world.

For Jews, there is no other world. This is it. And while the Rabbis of the Talmud and our liturgy allude to a life...Read more...

“Context Clues” – These And These are the Words of the Living God

02/03/2017 02:09:40 AM

Feb3

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

Hillel and Shammai, two of our towering rabbinic figures, didn’t agree on much. Shammai was a stickler for rules and Hillel was far more flexible. Shammai drew a line in the sand and Hillel would find a way around it while still respecting the spirit of the law. The Rabbis asked if despite their great division, were their children allowed to marry each other. The answer was a resounding yes, for they were still Jews, they were still...Read more...

Thu, April 18 2019 13 Nisan 5779