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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...

Rabbi, When are y'all going to get a building?

04/29/2019 02:11:54 PM


Not so occasionally, people ask me, “When are y’all going to get a building?”  With a sort of quiver of responses, depending on how the question is asked, I attempt to choose one that will speak to the individual and the moment.  The responses to this question generally range from a recognition of the great financial cost of a building to the impact these expenses often have on an institution’s...Read more...

Life With a Soundtrack

04/23/2019 10:46:00 AM


Welcome to Chol HaMoed Pesach, essentially meaning, the “Holy Normal.”  Whereas Shabbat and the chaggim (the first and last days of Pesach and Sukkot, and Shavuot) are considered the most holy days of the year, and most other days are considered chol (normal, everyday), the days in between the first and last of Pesach and Sukkot fall into this category of chol hamoed (the holy normal days of this season).  Why do they carry this...Read more...

Our Journey Guides are My Heroes

04/15/2019 08:03:22 AM


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


Stormy Weather with Clearer Skies Approaching

04/09/2019 08:21:19 AM


“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


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


“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


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


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


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


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


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


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 S

A Very Sweet Tu B'Shvat Featuring Dessert Gallery

01/09/2019 08:07:19 PM


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


"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


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


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...

Thu, June 4 2020 12 Sivan 5780