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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...

“Context Clues” – Caring for the Stranger

01/30/2017 02:10:58 AM

Jan30

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

The amazing thing about the Torah is that it doesn’t pull any punches. Our patriarchs and matriarchs are great because of the extraordinary experiences of their lives, not because they always got it right! As a matter of fact, the Torah takes us to great pains to experience the ways in which they really miss the mark at times!

Try this little ditty from The Book of Genesis on for size:
Scene1: Sarah gives Hagar (her handmaiden)...Read more...

Getting to Seattle

01/17/2017 02:12:45 AM

Jan17

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

I won’t be able to articulate this illustrative metaphor with the poetry and flair of its author, Leonard Pitts, but it certainly bears repeating, especially today, as we honor Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Last night at an MLK Commemoration, columnist Leonard Pitts spoke on the divide that exists between white people and black people in terms of their often vastly divergent views of the state of racial equality in our country. He explained...Read more...

Midday Message: On Happiness and Gratitude

01/14/2017 02:14:12 AM

Jan14

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

We tend to believe that it’s the happy people who are grateful.  

However, its really the other way around: It’s the grateful people who are happy.

All of us know people who have all the things one might imagine would make them happy but they’re miserable.   And if we’re lucky, we’ve come across folks who, despite challenging and even dire circumstances, express happiness.  The trick, according to...Read more...

We’re All Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf

01/12/2017 02:16:18 AM

Jan12

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

OK, I get it. The person who works in the cubicle next to you, in the office down the hall, in the classroom or in the board room, or uses the locker next to you, or whom you’ve considered “unfriending” is just too much for you.   You know who I’m talking about. Because, well, he/she just bugs you. Maybe it’s their voice, maybe it’s bad past experiences, maybe it’s something else. But it’s not realistic that he or she...Read more...

Midday Message: On Upsets

01/10/2017 02:17:34 AM

Jan10

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

In the car on the way to school:

Sammy: This is the year of the upset, Dad.

Me: What do you mean?

Sammy: Take last year’s Super Bowl.  Cam Newton was the NFL’s MVP Quarterback expected to lead the Panthers to victory over the Broncos.  That didn’t happen.  At all.  March Madness kept seeing upset after upset; nothing was what we expected.  In the NBA Playoffs, the Warriors came back from...Read more...

Midday Message: “What makes a good slogan great?”

01/09/2017 02:19:35 AM

Jan9

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

CSK says, “Join us…You already belong.”  I remember throwing this out to my good friend, David, who, as an Ad Exec, was very much used to a process of growth and development when it came to helping a client come up with the right “sales pitch.”  He told me that usually this process should take months, and sometimes even longer.  But, he also said that sometimes the perfect pitch presents itself because it’s a simple...Read more...

Don’t Get Stuck

11/09/2016 02:20:39 AM

Nov9

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

When Israel found itself before the as of yet, un-parted Red Sea and Pharaoh’s pursuing army at their rear, they began to kvetch (complain) and geshri (despond) and veynen (cry). “What Moses?!, there weren’t enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out to the desert to die?!” In desperate response, Moses tells Israel to stand back and await God’s imminent deliverance. God, however, grows impatient with this magician’s persona...Read more...

The Soul’s Calendar

08/12/2016 02:22:18 AM

Aug12

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

No matter how many times I have journeyed through this period of the year, it always seems to catch me off guard. Tomorrow night is the 9th of Av, Tisha b’Av, and as some are aware, this day is the Jewish people’s national day of mourning. Harkening back to the year 586 BCE, when the ancient Temple in Jerusalem lay in ruins, and the Prophet Jeremiah, sat in sackcloth and ashes, dumbfounded by the pity he felt for himself, for his people...Read more...

Reflections on Yom HaShoah – The Canary in the Coalmine

05/05/2016 11:15:52 AM

May5

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

In so many ways, we Jews get messed with. When we claim our tragic past, we are accused of acting like martyrs under false pretense. When we deject our past and rise above all that has befallen us, we are accused of the secret command and control of the world. We are the classic canary in the coalmine but perhaps, not in the way we tend to think. Yes Niemoller’s poem, “First They Came for the Socialists,” is true. Its true for we Jews,...Read more...

Invitation to Shabbat HaGadol – The Great Shabbat

04/12/2016 11:17:37 AM

Apr12

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

Yankele was watching his father, a Rabbi, write one of his shabbes speeches. “How do you know what to say, Daddy?” Yankele asked. “Why, son, God tells me”, said the Rabbi. “Oh, then why do you keep crossing things out?

I understand that “crossing out” issue.  “Speaking for God” is an attribute that, when I hear one Rabbi say, he does, I find it a bit scary, but when I hear another Rabbi say that he doesn’t, I...Read more...

Straight out of Egypt!

03/31/2016 11:20:55 AM

Mar31

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

We have come to know our upcoming big holiday as “Passover,” in light of the story of the Angel of Death “passing over” the homes of the Israelites, as the first born children of the Egyptians are struck dead by the tenth plague.  However, truth be told, this holiday that inspects, analyzes and investigates the essence of freedom, isn’t about passing over, avoiding, skirting, or shying away.  Its Hebrew name, “Pesach,”...Read more...

4 Great Ways to Celebrate Purim Without Going to a Synagogue

03/24/2016 11:22:33 AM

Mar24

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

While I hope to see you when CSK will be celebrating Purim tomorrow night and the next (3-24 & 3-25), it is true that the official date of Purim (14th of Adar) begins this evening. And if you happen to be a little “Type A” about observing the holiday on its official date, I have a recommendation for how to observe Purim tonight without having to go to a synagogue. There are 4 official commandments for Purim. They are: hearing the...Read more...

To Be Fair…

03/17/2016 11:24:00 AM

Mar17

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

A friend and congregant emailed me today asking, “Rabbi Scott, since you wrote a piece about how Donald Trump is channeling the destructive efforts of Korach, then which biblical personas might I liken President Obama or Secretary Clinton or Senator Sanders?” Citing a particularly negative article against these three individuals that seeks to create parallels between them and Trump, I believe my congregant’s suggestion was, in essence,...Read more...

I Found Him? Who? Donald Trump! He’s in the Bible!

03/16/2016 11:26:24 AM

Mar16

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

There is a moment in the Torah when a man named Korach speaks out and against Moses. In the middle of the desert, backed by two hundred fifty malcontented former slaves, Korach challenges Moses with these words:

“You have gone too far! For all the community are holy, all of them, and the Lord is in their midst. Why then do you raise yourself above the Lord’s congregation?” (Numbers 16:3)

Now, one could make the argument...Read more...

Sun, August 18 2019 17 Av 5779