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Unsolicited Advice

11/24/2021 10:44:07 PM

Nov24

If we are indeed God’s chosen people and if God is indeed in control of everything, then why do we have such a sordid history?

But if God is a presence, the force of creation, the common bond of all humanity that exists but without pre-ordination or even an authorial personality-- and we are thus the writers of the Torah--why then would we write and repeat our story the way we did and do?

Instead, why didn’t we just write and rally around a “Yay Jews!” narrative?  Why must we continue to toil in Genesis’ vineyards of rivalry, debasement and violence between our ancient kin?  Our patriarch abandons his lover and child to death in the desert; our matriarch abuses the trust of her husband and son; the namesakes of the many of our 12 Tribes sell their brother into slavery and lie to their father about his fictionalized demise-- these are the ones in whose names we pray the Avot v’Imahot? Read more...

Muslim -Jewish Christmas

11/17/2021 07:38:44 AM

Nov17

We do indeed live in a Christian-ish society, at least when it comes to the majority’s predilections, as well as the default presumptions of many.  And we Jews all know what it’s like to experience the “jingle” phenomenon--the  intrusive means by which “Rudolph” burrows into our brain such that, as we are mindlessly emptying grocery bags or waiting in the carpool line, that jingle of a tune is, unbeknownst to...Read more...

Nes Gadol Hayah Poh - a Great Miracle Happened Here

11/09/2021 02:23:50 PM

Nov9

This past Shabbat, November 5, 2021, felt like a watershed moment for CSK.  From March of 2020 until just recently, CSK, like much of the rest of our society, had more or less been on lockdown.  Yes, we had a few positive blips this past summer when we gathered (still with precautions); but of course that enthusiasm abated quite quickly, and most unfortunately, as the Delta variant was on the rise.  Even this...Read more...

"Mommy, are there really Jews with light skin?"

11/04/2021 09:24:52 AM

Nov4

Click HERE to listen

Yesterday morning, the first email I read was from “My Jewish Learning.”  In it, I learned that Wednesday evening of this week is Sigd, the Ethiopian Jewish observance that falls 50 days after Yom Kippur.  Sigd means “prostration,” and with its celebration of the revelation of the Torah, prayers for a return to Zion, a partial day fast, and a festive gathering, it feels a lot...Read more...

Vax the Jews? No, we're good.

10/27/2021 08:43:06 PM

Oct27

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

 

LISTEN

Vax the Jews?  OK.  That would be a great idea, if only we weren’t already the most pro-vaccine ethnic group in America to do so (85% of us!)  What’s that?  That wasn’t their point?  They weren’t really talking about that kind of vaccination?  

Some morons last week hung a banner in Austin over the MoPac Expressway very near the...Read more...

Looking Back

10/20/2021 10:56:03 AM

Oct20

Perhaps because we hope that we are standing on the precipice of being able to claim we are “Post-COVID,” but still are wary of doing so; perhaps because the weather is changing and with it the willingness to head back outside is renewed; or perhaps because this December 6 will be CSK’s eighth anniversary - whatever the reason, this feels like a moment for reflection. Eight years is long enough to be known as one of Houston’s...Read more...

Rabbi Tarfon Taught...

10/14/2021 08:45:02 AM

Oct14

In the second century CE, our Rabbinic Sage, Rabbi Chanina, taught:  “Pray for the welfare of the government, for were it not for the fear it inspires, every [person] would swallow his neighbor alive.”[1]About 1400 years later, the English  philosopher Thomas Hobbes would similarly warn:  “Except they be restrained through fear of some coercive power, every [person] will dread and distrust each...Read more...

CSK Announces the First Rabbi Tarfon Award!

10/14/2021 08:36:01 AM

Oct14

In the second century CE, our Rabbinic Sage, Rabbi Chanina, taught:  “Pray for the welfare of the government, for were it not for the fear it inspires, every [person] would swallow his neighbor alive.” (Pirve Avot 3:2) About 1400 years later, the English  philosopher Thomas Hobbes would similarly warn:  “… [E]xcept they be restrained through fear of some coercive power, every [person] will dread and distrust...Read more...

REI - Recreating, Exploring, and Inventing (same title, different article than 2 weeks ago!)

10/06/2021 02:57:28 PM

Oct6

Houston didn’t need another reform synagogue.  While certainly there were exigent circumstances which led to its founding, the driving force which birthed CSK into existence was the desire and yearning to utilize Jewish tools for deep and personal expression of oneself and one’s community. Our commitment to not owning or occupying a single building wasn’t first and foremost a financial decision, it was a spiritual one that...Read more...

REI - Re-creating, Exploring, and Inventing

09/22/2021 10:35:43 AM

Sep22

Houston didn’t need another reform synagogue.  While there were certainly exigent circumstances that led to its founding, the driving force that birthed CSK into existence was the desire and yearning for deep and personal expression of oneself and one’s community, utilizing Jewish tools. Our commitment to not owning or occupying a single building wasn’t first and foremost a financial decision, it was a spiritual one that insured...Read more...

Dry Bones

09/02/2021 08:57:58 AM

Sep2

Weary…Transformation....

I have been teaching two online High Holy Day prep courses during the month of Elul.  Rabbi Laura Sheinkopf and I taught a 4-part course called, “Texting in Services,” and I have been offering a course through 18doors (a non-profit dedicated to supporting...Read more...

Headlines from Rabbi Scott

08/25/2021 04:25:28 PM

Aug25

Extra, Extra, Read all About it!

“CSK bobs and weaves with ever more agility!”

“CSK floats like a ner tamid and stings like a shofar!”

“CSK remains here for you even though, for us, “here” is just theory!”

Yes, yes, I know, I should have been a headline writer.  But I’m not sure that’s actually a job (at...Read more...

Ringing in the New Year

08/11/2021 01:22:47 PM

Aug11

I received a call from a young man last week who I haven’t always known as a young man. What I mean is, I’ve known him since he started at Journey when he was probably in 4th or 5th grade.  Over time, he became a Bar Mitzvah and stayed involved afterwards for a little while, but then got involved with high school and after school jobs, and soon he will be starting his freshman year studying engineering. He called me, as he has kept...Read more...

Imagining our Enemies as Babies

08/04/2021 02:33:31 PM

Aug4

When civil rights protesters in the 1960’s prepared for the inevitable confrontations that would come from marching the streets of southern towns, sitting at lunch counters, using water fountains, etc., they were taught that in the moment of conflict, they should envision their opponents as the babies they once were – innocent and free of the instilled hate borne out of others’ irrational vengeance.  Not only were they taught...Read more...

Wholehearted Repair

07/28/2021 09:52:35 AM

Jul28

I spend a majority of work as a Rabbi toiling in the vineyards of healing.  That doesn’t mean that I completely or usually succeed.  But, when it comes down to it, it feels like the driving force within Judaism, and the subsequent raison d’etre of a Rabbi, is to seek and pursue healing.  Healing rifts.  Overcoming and perhaps smoothing tensions.  Finding equanimity within one’s persona, one’s psyche. ...Read more...

Our GPS for Your Soul

07/15/2021 08:08:17 AM

Jul15

 

Yes, the rumors are true.  Rosh Hashanah is coming to visit just a bit “earlier” this year than we’re used to.  Monday of Labor Day weekend is quite a surprise, but not really. 

See, Rosh...Read more...

Special Deliveries

07/07/2021 01:43:24 PM

Jul7

In Jewish time, the High Holy Days are just around the corner.  Following is something to consider as we enter into the last “season” of the Jewish year. 

Every day I hear about and read about families reuniting. Families for whom it was a regular habit to be together often have quickly found themselves in each other’s arms. And families for whom it was not a regular occurrence to schlep via planes trains and...Read more...

"But wait, there's more..."

07/01/2021 08:33:31 AM

Jul1

They call us the people of the book and indeed we are. Books, whether physically bound or digital, are central to what it means to engage as a Jew in the world. That doesn’t mean that every one of us is incredibly well read, or that we might win some literature trivia contest, but what it does mean is that we take words, written words all the more so, seriously.

In Hebrew, the word for prayer book is Siddur, from the root samech,...Read more...

The 10 Commandments for Zooming into Summer

06/17/2021 09:01:44 AM

Jun17

What a difference a year makes!  Just take a moment and think about where you (we) all were last summer at this time.  In case you forgot, in all likelihood, you were at home.  Or at least you were at home a heck of a lot more than you had been before.

But thank goodness, we have arrived.  The COVID-scare has significantly subsided, if not disappeared from our day to day worries. And you know what that means? ...Read more...

Israel is Not an Apartheid State

06/10/2021 08:36:31 AM

Jun10

I know that I am not the first to decry this phrase but occasionally it needs to be done: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”  There is so much wrong with this aphorism, both in terms of the far too common way in which mean and nasty words always carry the undeniable potential for the hurling of sticks and stones, not to mention the fact that a significant portion of the “oeuvre” of psychologists,...Read more...

Mon, November 28 2022 4 Kislev 5783