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What Happens  Now that the "December Dilemma" Seems to be Less so  (a Dilemma)?

12/04/2019 08:43:10 AM


Years ago (I can say that, now that I am 50!), Natalie and I were trained as facilitators by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now the Union for Reform Judaism) for a series of “outreach” programs for interfaith families. A title of one of the most often quoted books for the programs was, “I’m Jewish, You’re Christian, What are the Kids?”  One of the most “heart-wrenching” sessions we were taught to teach and...Read more...

Make Thanksgiving Great Again

11/26/2019 12:56:24 PM


(Click HERE to LISTEN to Rabbi Scott read this blog.)

There’s lots of talk of late regarding worries and concerns over the potential negative energy borne out of politics that might ruin our upcoming Thanksgiving meals and gatherings.  On one side, we have the “bleeding heart liberals” overwrought about the MAGA hats that might adorn the heads of family and guests, and on the other side, we have the...Read more...

No Surprise Thanksgiving

11/19/2019 01:19:41 PM


Thanksgiving!  For most of us, it is a time to look forward, whether we are in or out of town, to gather with family and friends.  For many, this is an “official” time of year, not any less important than gathering for the High Holy Days or Passover.  It is historically for Jewish families, (at least as far as America is concerned), a very welcomed, secular holiday that doesn’t challenge notions of the “kosherness” of...Read more...

11/19/2019 01:11:18 PM


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“Keep Jews out of the News”

11/15/2019 03:09:43 PM


For much of the 20th and so far in the 21st century, and let’s face it, for most of Jewish existence, the “Oy Gevalts” over our existence have been a constant of Jewish life.  From the new book, The 100 Most Jewish Foods: A Highly Debatable List, regarding Horseradish, “Let the WASPs have their Worcestershire; leave it to the Jews to turn suffering into a craving.” 

Sociologists and historians, genealogists and...

The Value of Downtime

11/05/2019 04:34:47 PM


Take it from me, this is tough.  It is so much easier to teach than to do.  And when your very nature, is of an “entrepreneurial” design with no pre-existing barometers of success, limits, or boundaries, like so many are today, the concept of “downtime” is a tough one, even for someone who spends so much time thinking about, writing about, guiding others to practice it, as I do.  I want so desperately for you to know...Read more...

A Little Inspiration Never Hurts

10/30/2019 09:12:38 AM


I’ll never forget when I heard Malat Wei call his new wheelchair basketball teammate, Abraham Hausman-Weiss, his “brother from another mother,” and even joked around claiming a new last name, “Hausman-Wei!”  Malat had contracted polio as a child when his family survived and barely escaped with their lives from Sudan. Eventually they made their way to Houston, and after few years, Malat joined and played for the Houston Hot...Read more...

 Why is Rabbi Scott in Puerto Rico this week if…

10/22/2019 06:11:33 PM


it's not for a post HH days vacation and it's not to perform a wedding and it's not to dive deep into the history of the Jewish pirates of the Caribbean (more on that later…)

I am in Puerto Rico this week for an interfaith clergy service trip.  Our group of Rabbis, Ministers, an Imam, and reps from the Houston Jewish Federation and Islamic Relief have descended on Dorado, PR where we are continuing our post-hurricane relief work...Read more...

Nothing Goes Away But Us

10/03/2019 06:52:39 AM


On Yom Kippur, we will be immersed in that idea.  Not because this year, Shma Koleinu is doing something new and different.  It’s not this year’s “Yom Kippur theme.”  It is THE THEME of Yom Kippur.  And in this moment, I really want to encourage you not to call it, “Yum Kipper.”   For a fast day, who really wants to wish each other a hearty and delicious...Read more...

10/03/2019 06:50:10 AM


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Three Things to Know About the High Holy Days!

09/25/2019 12:23:19 PM


Sometimes You Got to Stand Up!  If you or your child wish to attend Rosh Hashanah and/or Yom Kippur services this year, neither your school nor your employer can legally penalize you or your child for your absence.  Yes, it might take a bit of bravery and courage to take your stand but isn’t it worth it?  Check out this very clarifying document from the Anti-Defamation League.


Gospel Anyone? On Rosh Hashanah...

“One Small Sheet of Paper”

09/18/2019 04:25:54 PM


I had just sat down to write this blog entry when Sammy called me from school.  He wanted to get some information about the upcoming High Holy Days at Shma Koleinu, as he had just shared with his teacher, why she and her family needed to try us out!  Now, I don’t know about you but to me, this is the equivalent (not to be morose) of hearing one’s own eulogy! There are very few people whose opinions matter to me more than...Read more...

Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy and smooth set of nights and days.

09/11/2019 11:43:07 AM


Who is invited to the High Holy Days at Shma Koleinu? (cont'd)

For the past two weeks, I have issued “invitations” to people stuck in different mind frames that might make the High Holy Days feel less “inviting.”  As my grandmother used to say, “Poppycock!” I echo her now, because if those who are feeling disconnected or those who are feeling a deep sense of dread aren’t “invited” to the High Holy Days, who...Read more...

The Dissipation of Dread

09/04/2019 10:03:37 AM


Who is Invited to High Holy Days with Shma Koleinu? (cont'd)

As you know, everyone is invited.  However, sometimes, you’ve got to be more explicit. 

Last week, I wanted you to know that you are invited even if AND ESPECIALLY if you feel disconnected.  Disconnected from Judaism, disconnected from spirituality, from family, from yourself.  And that we want you to know that this...Read more...

Who is invited to Shma Koleinu for the High Holy Days?

08/27/2019 01:58:54 PM


If you are a regular reader of this blog, or familiar with Shma Koleinu, you’ll probably know the obvious answer to this question.  “Everyone.”

However, sometimes “everyone” sounds too general to be meaningful, too “umbrellaish” to not get wet.  So, let’s talk about it.

Who is invited to Shma Koleinu for the High Holy Days?  The next several weeks of blogs are going to feature some special folks...Read more...

Will I Live 'til Next Year?

08/19/2019 03:56:02 PM


If there is one question that undergirds the purpose of the High Holy Days, it is the asking and pondering and reflecting and maybe even, obsessing, over this one: “Will I live til next year?” 

Not at all because we have control over it.

And not at all because we can somehow pray our way out of death (as much as we’d like to believe otherwise).

Not at all because our deeds, whether good or bad, will...Read more...

What does it mean to be Jewish?

08/14/2019 08:50:41 PM


This isn’t some existential question that only became germane to our lives because of our post-shtetl, assimilated, acculturated, reality.  It’s actually a question we have been asking for millennia.  The Book of Devarim (or Deuteronomy) is built upon this investigation.  Moses, Joshua and Caleb (the only Israelites alive at this point who had experienced slavery and the Exodus) stand before the Israelites (or should we...Read more...

Ode to the Mommas and the Poppas

08/02/2019 11:29:45 AM


At times, Abraham was blinded by ambition

and Sarah by jealousy,

Isaac by fear and Rebecca by agency,

Jacob and Esau, could often only see each other’s back,

Rachel and Leah got stuck in minds full of lack. 

Each of them, our...

“How I Spent My Summer Vacation”

07/23/2019 10:29:48 AM


Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

Last week, I had the distinct privilege to volunteer for an organization very close to my heart, The Woods Project. The Woods Project is dedicated to creating fertile ground for the growth, development and expanding opportunities for Houston high school students from low-income families. They do this primarily through wilderness experiences, both locally and nationally. And while, yes it’s true that my wife, Natalie is their...Read more...

Rabbi Scott Is  Out of the Office

07/15/2019 06:31:58 PM


Chris Brady

Rabbi Scott is on vacation this week, relaxing after a busy spring and preparing mentally for the gauntlet that is the High Holy Days. As you might know, we need volunteers for this big event, so please consider how you might be able help out. There are many tasks to take care of, both before and during the High Holy Days. Our celebration is a great opportunity for Shma Koleinu to put our best foot forward throughout the...Read more...

Summer Heat

07/08/2019 08:17:03 PM


Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

Ah, Houston freeways in the summer. Yes, it’s true they are often filled with delayed or postponed public works projects, and it can get so hot that the path in front of us seems to shimmer as if it were melting. But it is a nice surprise to find a whole lot less traffic, with thousands fewer school carpools and busses schlepping kids from here to there! It is a sight when a Houstonian experiences emotional uplift upon witnessing no traffic...Read more...

A Little Meditation for the 4th of July

07/02/2019 01:52:06 PM


Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

The story goes that on one particularly fateful day, the elders were simply fed up by the ways in which their people disregarded their teachings, disavowed their presumed allegiance and were inert to their teachings for how one should live one’s life. And so the elders prayed. They prayed harder and stronger and louder and more fervently than ever before in their lives. And because all of them prayed together with such intensity...Read more...

Looking Beyond Our Noses

06/24/2019 11:07:33 PM


Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss


Repair the World/One America painting project crew

Allow me to introduce you to some friends of mine: This is a picture from last week in the 5th Ward with my One-America colleagues (from left to right): Rabbi Steve Gross, Houston...Read more...

Happy Father's Day!

06/16/2019 11:39:00 AM


Dear Fathers, Happy Father’s day friends!

I just returned from a lovely (but shvitzy) walk, while listening to a remarkable interview. Take these words from Joseph Campbell for starters:

“We have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have gone before us; the labyrinth is thoroughly known;...Read more...

You & I Can Change the World

06/11/2019 06:06:56 PM


Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

With less than two weeks until the 2019 Houston Pride Celebration, as a Rabbi, I would like to address a group of people, who despite tremendous advances in how our society treats, embraces, and legislates the affirmation of rights for LGBTQIA people (don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot more work to do!), still feel heavy doses of shame, the roots of which are so unfortunately found in the Bible and religion. To those, who still struggle...Read more...

An Open Invitation to First Unitarian Universalist Church

06/04/2019 09:40:47 PM


Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

Dear Reverend Colin Bossen, Reverend Dan King, and the community of the First Unitarian Universalist Church,

We, Shma Koleinu, are so very grateful to you and your willingness to open your doors to us. We don’t know you yet, but we look forward to it. As you have may have heard, we are a Jewish community without walls. Shma Koleinu is made possible by the generous support of our contributors, all of whom are, as we...Read more...

"Its More than Sitting on Your Tuchus"

05/28/2019 10:28:13 AM


Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

Meditation is not about sitting still. That may be its vehicle, but that isn’t what it’s about. Meditation is practice for living life less reactively. It is the practice of quieting our gut impulse to respond when silence may be the better way.  I’ve always loved learning about the martial art of Judo which relies significantly upon using the weight and motion of your opponent against them. Not that we...Read more...

Sweet 'n' Sour Home Alabama

05/20/2019 05:10:05 PM


Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

As many of you know, the Hausman-Weiss’ lived in Birmingham, AL for 12 years.  And most often, we connect nonetheless positively to this historically troubled place.  “Some of my best friends are from Alabama!”  But today, in the wake of that state house’s draconian anti-choice law just signed by the governor, its especially difficult.  I know that Alabama is not alone, that it is joined by other states that...Read more...

We are the Ocean

05/14/2019 06:11:41 PM


I am a Rabbinic Fellow of a national organization called “Interfaith Family,” or IFF for short.  IFF has been around now for a couple of decades and their mission is to serve interfaith families with support, opportunity and encouragement for bringing Judaism into their lives.  Now, I have always served interfaith families.  Ever since I was a student rabbi in Merced, CA, for Congregation Eitz Chaim’s 30 families, 28 of...Read more...

Mothering Day

05/07/2019 04:38:40 AM


Perhaps we ought to rename this Sunday, May 12th

"Mothering Day"?

For there is so much more to being a mother

Than the act of giving birth

Now I know as a man, I offer these words with a little bit of fear

For to suggest that giving birth is but a blip, an act that only lasts a moment or a day, may most certainly fall on deaf (or angry) ears

This is not what I wish to say

But instead, it...

Sun, December 15 2019 17 Kislev 5780