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Access the Depths of Your Being Drumming, Chanting and Dance Leaving Your Mark Endowment giving to build bridges to our future

Galeet Dardashti

drawing inspiration from the musical and cultural landscapes of the Middle East

Getting Involved Prayer, study, gathering, volunteering, it’s all up to you Chapters of the Father Jewish Ethics and the Pursuit of Peace


A Message from Rabbi Ranon Teller Shalom all, Welcome to our first e-Hineini. Brith Shalom is responding to a dynamic online social landscape. We are proud to be joining the online community via Facebook, Twitter, ebulletins, and now an e-Hineini. Online social media is a great way to communicate opportunities and updates at brith shalom. However, as ubiquitous as the new social media is, it should not be mistaken for genuine community. A book titled Alone Together ( describes the illusion of companionship we create by amassing hundreds of Facebook “friends.” It describes those times when we text not because it is faster and more efficient but

because it is less risky, because speaking face to face is too hard or too involved. It explains that while we may be more connected than ever, we have fewer meaningful relationships. Turkle explains it this way: “we are increasingly becoming a society in which our persona are externally manufactured rather than internally developed.” Our Brith Shalom mission is to nurture your individual Jewish journey. May this online publication inspire you to find your way into the core of our genuine, real-time community. The congregation will only be sustainable if you contribute your skills, your talents, and your energy. Virtual connections are the new norm, but the Brith Shalom connection has the potential to transform your life -- for real! Rabbi Ranon Teller

“Our Brith Shalom mission is to nurture your individual Jewish journey. May this online publication inspire you to find your way into the core of our genuine, real-time community.”

Brith Shalom Spotlight on

Galeet Dardashti

Sept 18 at 7pm, join Congregation Brith Shalom and the Jewish Community Center for a concert experience with Galeet Dardashti As the granddaughter of Yona Dardashti, the most renowned singer of Persian classical music in Iran in his day, and daughter of highly esteemed cantor Farid Dardashti, Middle Eastern vocalist and composer Galeet Dardashti is the first woman in her family to continue her family tradition of distinguished Persian and Jewish musicianship. After performing in the US and Canada with The Dardashti Family from her childhood into her teenage years, Dardashti began her own independent musical pursuits. She has performed as a soloist both throughout the US and Israel, including significant cantorial work.

Her newest performance, Monajat, is inspired by the poetic prayers of Selihot, recited during the month preceding Jewish New Year. It is a time-specific concert and program that takes place during a period of deep reflection and spiritual preparation. In the project, she re-imagines the Selihot ritual in collaboration with an acclaimed ensemble of musicians, an electronic soundscape, and dynamic live video art. Monajat is a Persian word meaning an intimate dialogue with the Divine. Using Persian melodies and Hebrew texts, the work pays homage to her grandfather. She performs some of the Persian piyutim (liturgical songs) traditionally chanted as part of the Selihot service, as well as other liturgical and non-liturgical Hebrew and Persian poetry set to new music. Through electronics, she defies time and performs with her grandfather. As leader and vocalist of the edgy all-female Mizrahi band Divahn, Dardashti’s “sultry delivery spans international styles and clings to listeners long after the last round of applause” (Jerusalem Report). Her acoustic/electronic solo project The Naming, supported by a Six Points Fellowship and a Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Fellowship, draws inspiration from the musical and cultural landscapes of the Middle East and some of the provocative yet unsung Biblical women who lived there. The Huffington Post calls the album “a heart-stopping effort.” The Naming album launched in September 2010.



Congregation Brith Shalom, through its Adult Education department, will offer a new program in September called, “Drumming, Meditation, Chant and Dance.” This three-class series connects participants with the divine through alternate pathways. In these classes, one can “access the depths of your being in a Jewish way” according to Rabbi Deborah Schloss, one of the instructors. The program’s curriculum is found below. 1) Hand Drumming Circle September 7– 7:30-8:30pm Drumming reduces stress and anger, while boosting the immune system and creating pleasure. The bass sound of the drum releases the primordial in us, and lets in a deep vibration to the soul and opens us up to more spirituality. Drumming has to be something more than drummers wearing yarmulkes or being Jewish. Chanting Hebrew mantras while drumming made a good combination to discover secrets for accessing healing drum energy. (We will have extra drums and no experience is necessary).

Chanting is the practice of repetition of a sacred phrase, and it has deep roots in Jewish tradition. Jews of all denominations are beginning to recognize the healing and meditational qualities of chanting. Chanting and the wordless melody of the Niggun can open the heart and engage the mind and body in ways that enhance and enliven the traditional Jewish practice and synagogue experience. Recording devices are allowed in the class.

Instructor Adam Carman is a member of KoumanKe’le’ African Dance and Drum Ensemble, and has performed in a variety of bands, playing country, jazz, fusion, rock, world, and Afro-pop music. He also lead the Drum Circle at the JCC.

Janice Rubin is an internationally acclaimed photographer and musician. Her musical experience includes presenting programs of Jewish music around the country serving as musical specialist at CBS, and leading their popular Ruach services.

2) Chanting and the Niggun as a Path to Personal Prayer September 14 – 7:30-8:30pm Find out how to connect more deeply with the

traditional liturgy of our siddur. Bring the words of prayer to life, and explore tools to cultivate a deeply personal prayer experience.

“access the depths of your being in a Jewish way”

Mediation allows us to take time to get away from the hustle and bustle of life that bombards us daily and provides an opportunity to access the depths of our being. 3) Meditation and Dance September 21 – 7:30-8:30pm Meditation:


The Dances of Universal Peace are body-centered affirmations that connect us to each other Meditation & journaling can take us to a quiet and the earth. They combine simple folk-dance space of personal reflection in a Jewish way. movements with sacred songs drawn from the Meditation is about getting into the silence of Earth’s many spiritual traditions. Join in the spaciousness within ourselves so we can find the circle of hearts to sing and dance for peace at all essence of who we really are. levels - personal, interpersonal and global. No experience is necessary - new arrivals and old Instructor Rabbi Deborah Schloss serves as rabbi hands form the circle together. of Temple Beth Tikvah in Clear Lake and as staff chaplain at the Michael E. DeBakey V.A. Karen Mastracchio is a Certified Leader of the Medical Center. She received her ordination Dances and Subhana Elizabeth Ferrio is a from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1996, member of the Mentor Teachers Guild for the and has a Double Master’s degree in Jewish Dances of Universal Peace, which offers training Communal Service and Public Administration. for Dance Leaders. She has served on staff for many Dance retreats.


Building Bridges to Secure our Future

Congregation Brith Shalom is an intimate community that welcomes everyone as family and whose members are inspired to explore and express Judaism within the broad and dynamic framework of Conservative beliefs and practices. We seek to provide Jewish spiritual, educational and social opportunities which encourage personal development and social responsibility as well as promote greater knowledge of our Jewish history and culture.

Rabbi Ranon Teller is an inspirational and well-respected leader who has served our congregation since 2005, providing the utmost of compassionate care to our members and promoting a deeper sense of spirituality through his knowledge and commitment to serving the needs of every individual at CBS.

Cantor Lance Rhodes is a young, spirited cantor who is infusing spirituality into the music of CBS. He is inspiring and guiding our passionate Brith Shalom Choir and our energetic Friday Night Ruach Ensemble. Our founding was predicated on creatHe also oversees the B’nei Mitzvah ing a compassionate, spiritual community Program, teaches children and adults and that cares for every member, for klal yisrael, presents educational workshops. and for people in need. Meeting worship and Hebrew School needs and seeking an Under the direction of Cantor Mark Levine, alternative to the typical suburban synaour religious school is transforming to gogue served as the guiding Jewish values offer each child and teenager the opporthat inspired founding families to establish tunity to become an active participant in Congregation Brith Shalom in 1955. We the Jewish community through underwanted to be a community dedicated to standing the rituals, customs, observances personal growth and active participation and ethical teachings of Judaism. and that is easily accessible for all Jewish Now it is time to focus on insuring that individuals in the Houston community. our members continue to benefit from Today CBS has many significant features the meaningful relationships, educational that are contributing to our members’ experiences and life cycle moments with fulfillment and the success of our congre- our dedicated Rabbinical, educational and gation. A few highlights include: professional staff.

To Maintain the Wonderful Experiences We All Enjoy at Brith Shalom We Must Insure Fiscal Sustainability. How you can help today There are 3 primary ways you can begin helping today.

Immediately the annual annual income from an endowment fund will be used for the following:

1.) Permanent Annual Giving Increase Increase your financial support to the minimum sustaining giving level or members with additional capacity can join a Benefactor-level.

Transforming our Religious School through

2.) Endowment Funding Make a one-time pledge, payable over multiple years.

Legacy Commitment

3.) Legacy Commitment Inscribe your signature on the future of CBS through the Congregation Brith Shalom Legacy Society. Our endowment fund will allow us to focus on the origins behind our founding: - To provide our congregants with a nurturing community to promote personal Jewish growth; - To create an innovative religious school to engage our children with educational experiences fostering Jewish life and continuity; and - To offer our congregants dynamic programs across the broad spectrum of the Jewish experience.

Expanding our Existing Congregation Programs

It is time for CBS - both its leadership and our entire congregation - to think boldly about our future! This initiative provides all of us with the opportunity to invest in our Legacy for tomorrow and become permanent stakeholders in our beloved Congregation Brith Shalom. For more information about endowment giving contact Congregation Brith Shalom at 713-667-9201.

GETTING SOCIAL Making Social Media Work For You Welcome to the 21st century. Long gone are the days when we relied primarily on hand-written letters delivered by friendly postal carriers. Once upon a time picking up the telephone was the fastest way to reach out and touch someone. While today both of those options are still in use, they are becoming less and less common as the world of electronic communications begins to take the forefront in how we communicate. Even at Brith Shalom we have begun integrating the new social media into how we communicate with members. In addition to our website (( we also have a presense on Facebook (( and you can even follow us on Twitter ( ). We send electronic newsletters via email to our membership on a weekly basis and utilize emails to keep members apprised of important happenings and of life-cycle events. There is little doubt that being keyed in via social media helps us get information to the masses quickly and efficiently. There are literally thousands of social networking sites in use today, but we are going to focus on a few simple ones that Brith Shalom utilizes and we think our members can benefit from. Facebook Type - social networking Address - Cost - Free Brith Shalom’s presense - Facebook is extremely popular because it is easy and free to use. It can be used to expand your social network, share photos with friends and family around the world and stay up to date on issues and events that matter to you. Twitter Type - micro-blogging Address - Cost - Free Brith Shalom’s presense - Twitter is a “micro-blogging” application. What this means is that people use it to post very short entries or updates, typically via a cell phone. Twitter limits individual updates to 140 characters and is useful for sending out quick updates, sometimes including links to websites with more information.

With so many social networks to choose from, how do you know which is right for you?

“Social media can be an enabler and an accelerator of existing core capabilities, values, attributes and plans. It can even be a catalyst for change. But it can’t magically create what doesn’t exist.” - Denise Zimmerman YouTube Type - video sharing Address - Cost - Free Brith Shalom’s presense - YouTube has become extremely popular. You can upload home movies, find music videos, watch documentaries and more using the site. It is a useful form of social media that allows you to produce and distribute your original content to whomever is interested in the subject matter. Issuu Type - document storage Address - Cost - Free Brith Shalom’s presense - Issuu (think issues) is designed to act as a digital library. It offers users the ability to create online books and magazines that viewers can then flip through. Essentially it serves as an online publisher of original content. You can find originally produced books on travel, photography, religion and almost any subject you can think of. No matter your age or your interest, getting tied into social media can give you access to information and tools that you might not otherwise have. In addition, the more we are able to communicate in an electronic format, the less we have to continue producing printed goods and materials - which is much more environmentally friendly. Social media gives us the ability to communicate important information to a mass audience in a short amount of time and we hope this article will help you decide which service is right for you. And remember when you do decide, Brith Shalom will be there with you.

Religious School at Brith Shalom It is a Tree of Life for all those who grasp it, and all who uphold it are blessed. Its ways are pleasantness, and all its paths are peace. Proverbs 3:17-18

The Brith Shalom Religious School, an egalitarian environment, is committed to providing its students with the skills, values, identity, and passion for living serious Conservative Jewish lives in the 21st century. Our school emphasizes Jewish literacy based on Torah and Tefillah (prayer), life cycle and holiday cycle, ethics, and a concern for K’lal Yisrael (the Jewish people), and text-based Hebrew.

Our Goals include: Developing fluency in Hebrew reading and which focuses on gaining a working knowledge of Siddur and Bible vocabulary to build comfort and confidence as students are able to participate in and lead synagogue services throughout their lives. A fundamental knowledge of the Biblical text and its relevance in the lives of our students as a source of Jewish practice and ethics.

The CBS school supports and encourages warm and positive relationships between students and Developing within our students a strong personal their teachers, as faculty serve as important Jewish identification with Jewish history and the State of role models. Additionally, we strive for creative, Israel. active, dynamic classroom environments, emphasizing social interaction and cooperative learning. Creation of commitment and passion, among our students, for Conservative Jewish practice and Education at CBS begins with our pre-kindergarten mitzvot: specifically the observance of Shabbat, students (4-year-olds) and continues through Jewish Holidays, Kashrut, and Life Cycle events. graduation (12th grade). Exploring the role of God, holiness, and our Jewish ethical system in the lives of our students through the performance of tzedakah and gemilut chasadim (acts of loving-kindness) Enabling students to feel at home in the synagogue and with their Jewish identities. Establishing the positive basis for life-long learning and living. Supplementing the formal classroom, students are expected to attend various age-appropriate youth services during their years in the religious school.

Brith Shalom Reads! “More than 11.2 million Americans regularly buy kosher food, 13 percent of the adult consumer population. These are people who buy the products because they’re kosher, not shoppers who pick up Heinz ketchup, Miller beer, or Cheerios because they like the taste or the price. There are about six million Jews in this country. Even if they all bought only kosher food, which is not the case, they would not be enough to sustain such growth. In fact, just 14 percent of consumers who regularly buy kosher food do so because they follow the rules of kashrut. That means at least 86 percent of the nation’s 11.2 million kosher consumers are not religious Jews.” - Sue Fishkoff, author of Kosher Nation Kosher Nation by Sue Fishkoff was the Brith Shalom Reads! summer selection. Much of the book focuses on the growing trend of obtaining kosher certification for America’s food products. Fishkoff explains that this nonJewish consumer group includes vegetarians and vegans, Muslims, Seventh-Day Adventists, people with food allergies or gluten intolerance, and consumers who buy kosher food simply because they believe it “answers to a higher authority” (as established by the Hebrew National ad campaign of the early 1970’s).

Fishkoff delves into kosher with extraordinary depth, interviewing rabbis, mashgachim, kosher food manufacturers, ritual slaughterers, and Jewish deli owners. Fishkoff’s engaging prose leaves the reader with an even deeper understanding of what goes into making our everyday food products kosher.

“I’ve been coming across more and more examples having to do with food choices. I was especially struck by the lengths a family from California would go in Ukraine to get fresh milk for their children, “how far this Lubavitch couple would go for cholov Yisrael milk (watched from the time it leaves the cow)?” …I’m interested in how broad the spectrum of Jewish eating has become, also that so many things are coalescing in America at the same time. Americans are becoming more religious and more spiritually inclined.” - Sue Fishkoff, author of Kosher Nation

Vegetable Pot Pie

adapted from recipe by Ina Garten

What you’ll need: 2 yellow onions-chopped, 1 fennel bulb-sliced, 6 tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup flour, 1 1/2 cups butternut squash-cubed, 1 1/2 cups carrotschopped, 1 cup celery-chopped, 3 potatoes-peeled & diced, 1 1/2 cup frozen peas, 1/2 cup parsley-finely chopped, 2 cups vegetable broth, 3 tablespoons heavy cream, Kosher salt, Pepper, 1 recipe flaky pie or tart dough, or your favorite pie crust

Directions: 1. Make sure all your vegetables are chopped to the same size. 2. Combine the butter and olive oil in a large pot and add onions and fennel. Saute over medium heat for ten minutes, until lightly browned. 3. While the onions are browning, bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the potatoes for ten minutes and remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl. 4. Boil the butternut squash, carrots, and celery for five minutes. Drain and add to bowl. 5. Add flour and mix. Turn heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, until all the flour is absorbed. Mix occasionally. 6. Pour vegetable broth into pan and mix until thickens. 7. Add vegetables, including peas, into sauce. 8. Add parsley and mix. 9. Divide dough into six oven-proof bowls or two nine-inch pie plates. 10. Cut dough into 6 pieces. Roll each piece flat. Wet edges of bowl, and place pie crust over the bowl. 11. Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 12. Bake at 375 degrees for an hour until the top is crispy and the vegetables are bubbly and hot. Let cool for about ten minutes, because it’s going to be very hot!

“Dancing with the CBS Stars�

On a midwinters night, all through the house, nothing will be stirring, not even a mouse... But at CBS, the music will be playing, the dancers dancing, everything shimmering... Please join us for a thrilling evening of fun and dance, an exciting dance contest and a delicious Chinese buffet, a wonderful coffee bar and scrumptious dessert table. For more information

Doreen Lerner 281-412-6374 or Steve Rubin 713-721-6576 or Laurie Silverblatt 281-494-6112 or

PIRKEI AVOT ‫תובא יקרפ‬

Cantor Lance Rhodes One of the lesser utilized sections of our siddur is that of Pirkei Avot. There have been a large number of commentaries on Pirkei Avot, and they support the importance of its nature to provide ethics of Judaism.

and Rosh Hashanah. Therefore, I found it to be a relevant time for this.

Additionally, Pirkei Avot is commonly studied during Shabbat afternoons in the summer months between Passover

There are several verses in Pirkei Avot that express the pursuit of peace.

Pirkei Avot literally means “Chapters of the fathers”. It was compiled from sayings expressed by sages from 200 BCE up through the teachings of the Rabbis of the Mishnaic period (which I have decided to focus this article began right after the destruction of the on giving you a brief introduction to Pirkei Avot and teaching you a melody Second Temple at about 70 CE). The in hopes that it will provide an oppor- six chapters of Pirkei Avot mostly deal tunity for us to be more attentive to its with Jewish Ethics and are from the tractate titled, “Avot” in the Mishnah. teachings.

“The world stands on three things: On Torah, on prayer, and on kindness to others” (1:2)

Now is the time to order your beautiful JTS pin for the holidays! Support training for the next generation of Rabbis, Cantors, and Jewish Educators. Just as our pomegranate trees in front of the Chapel are laden with this unique fruit, this pin shows off these golden fruits of Israel. For more information

Contact Susan Marblestone 281-491-0690, Karen Lukin 713-526-7095, or Dori Wind 281-242-1762 to order your pin.










Congregation Brith Shalom’s new Hineni will be published every 2 months. This issue is the September/October edition. We are constantly looking to improve the work we do at Brith Shalom. If you have an idea for an article, or want a particular CBS program highlighted, send an email to Submission guidelines are as follows: Articles should be no more than 1000 words. Images should be submitted in a jpeg format. Hineni will be published the second week of every other month. Due date for submissions will be the 20th day of the month prior to publication. (for example, the next edition will cover the months of November /December and will have a publication date in the 2nd week of November, which means the submission deadline will be by October 20th. Remember the Hineni covers a 2-month span, so think ahead as to what events will be taking place that you would lke to see highlighted).

CBS Sept-Oct 2011 eHineni  

CBS Sept-Oct 2011 eHineni

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