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Inside Connections WINTER CLASSES








or twentythree years, the ERJCC has been supporting families through scholarships funded by the Annual Children’s Scholarship Ball benefitting the Irvin Kaplan Children’s Scholarship Fund. This event helps provide financial aid to hundreds of families who want to enrich their children’s lives through programs at the ERJCC. This black-tie event will be held Saturday, March 2 at the Westin Galleria Hotel with dinner, dancing, entertainment and a silent auction. There’s no mistaking the priority children are given at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston. Stellar preschool programs, exceptional afterschool activities, and popular Summer Day Camps always fill quickly. Annual programs are offered in the arts and sports for all age groups. Early childhood programming has grown to include two preschools and a Parenting Center offering high-quality education in a nurturing Jewish environment. Additionally, the STARS Preschool Intervention Program helps children ages 3-6 who have challenges with language, social, sensory and motor skills.

Bridging the Opportunities and Celebrating Those Who Honor Children Lenny’s dedication to children goes far beyond Maccabi. Among other volunteer roles, Lenny has served as CoPresident of the Emery/Weiner School, President of Westbury Little League, and President of the Sharpstown High School Friends of the Leadership Academy. Beyond business, Jim Crownover has been involved with a number of important educational initiatives at all levels. He joined the Rice University Board of Trustees in 1998. He was

The Ball annually recognizes individuals who have made significant impacts in our community through their dedication to children and families. The Honorees for the 23rd Annual Children’s Scholarship Ball benefiting the Irvin Kaplan Children’s Scholarship Fund are Jim Crownover, former director at McKinsey & Company; Lenny Dubin, community leader and owner of Dubin’s Fine Jewelry; and Gina Luna, Chairman of JPMorgan Chase in the Houston Region and

Gina Luna serves on the executive committee, the nominating committee, and is the chair of the member services committee for the Greater Houston Partnership. She is also on the board of directors for The United Way of Greater Houston and The Children’s Museum of Houston, serving on the executive committee as the vice president of contributed income. Gina is active in the Young Presidents’ Organization and AllKIDSAlliance. She is involved with several community organizations and youth programs and is an active volunteer at her church and her sons’ schools. Patti Hanfling and Robyn Shkolnick take the lead as 2013 Ball Chairs and have planned an evening full of entertainment and fun, with a New York ‘theme’. Through tickets, table sales and donations, the Scholarship Ball has raised over $8 million since 1990 and ensures that thousands of families of all religious and ethnic backgrounds have benefitted from high-quality ERJCC programs. More than $90,000 is raised annually with a spectacular silent auction at the event. For more information about donating items to this auction, please contact Lena Lieb at 713.729.3200, ext. 3212. Tables for the event may be purchased at the $25,000, $15,000, $10,000, $6,000 and $3,000 levels. Individual tickets are available for $1,000, $600 and $300 each. For more information about the Ball or how to contribute on behalf of this year’s deserving Honorees, please contact Melissa Gordon at 713.729.3200, ext. 3202.

We are extremely grateful for the financial assistance we have received from the ERJCC. The scholarship gave us peace of mind month after month. It is very important to us that our children are in a Jewish day care with an excellent reputation. We love BAC and plan to keep our children there until they are ready for kindergarten. Thank you to everyone who is committed to supporting the Children’s Scholarship Ball! —Anonymous Scholarship Family elected chairman of Rice’s board in 2005, a role from which he will retire in mid-2013. He has also served on the boards of Project Grad, St. John’s School, and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Over the last three decades, Jim has also led numerous important community initiatives and several efforts focused on building the United Way, including a project to better understand and create a comprehensive approach to the problem of homelessness. Jim chaired the 20042005 Houston area campaign and is the only two-time recipient of the United Way’s Volunteer of the Year Award. As an active community member,

CEO, Middle Market Banking. Marc Shapiro, Louis Lippman & Jeremy Samuels and Amy Bernstein will serve as Honorary Chairs for these deserving Honorees. Prior to the 2012 JCC Maccabi Games in Houston, Lenny Dubin was notified that he was selected as a 2013 Ball Honoree. Through his active involvement in Houston’s JCC Maccabi program since its inception, Lenny has dedicated innumerable hours to ensure that thousands of Houston’s Jewish teenagers get the social, cultural and athletic experiences of the Games & ArtsFest, building Jewish identity and relationships.








1. Jim Crownover Honoree 2. Lenny Dubin Honoree 3. Gina Luna Honoree 4. Marc Shapiro Honorary Chair 5. Louis Lipman & Jeremy Samuels Honorary Chairs 6. Amy Bernstein Honorary Chair 7. Patti Hanfling & Robyn Shkolnick 2013 Ball Chairs


ERJCC Special Needs Preschool Program to be Named for Visionary


he Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston is pleased to announce the establishment of an endowment for the Karol Musher STARS Early Childhood Intervention Program. This generous gift from the Musher family ensures the enhancement, enrichment and expansion of the STARS program. Immediately following Musher’s most recent board report, Executive Director Joel Dinkin made the surprise announcement which included a renaming of the program. Karol’s husband, Daniel, attended the board meeting to share in the excitement of the surprise gift which honors Karol’s visionary support for the program. While it was a shock to Karol, it didn’t come as a surprise to anyone else. “I am so honored by this gift my husband, Daniel, has

given me. I can’t imagine anything more meaningful. It has been so gratifying to have watched STARS flourish under the guidance of its very talented and committed staff. I have been able to see first-hand the successes of its students and the encouragement and the joy that this success has brought to their families,” said Karol Musher. The Karol Musher STARS Early Childhood Intervention Program is designed to help children with language, social and sensory motor challenges to attain skills required for transition into traditional school settings. The program provides multi-disciplinary intervention in a highly structured, language-based, creative and nurturing environment. Families are collaborative partners in the ongoing

observation, treatment and education of students. Children have the unique opportunity to develop communication, play and social skills with typical peer groups at a traditional preschool campus. Karol is a speech, language, and learning specialist at Texas Children’s Hospital and on the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine and St. John’s School. Her devotion to education and to the special needs population is reflected in her professional and communal commitment. In addition to her term as president of the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center, she has served on boards of trustees at Houston Hillel (president), Beth Yeshurun Day School, Emery/Weiner School, KIPP Academy (co-chair of the founding board), A+ Challenge, Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, and the Bureau of Jewish Education. She was on the advisory board for the Jewish Family Services’ Alexander Institute for families whose children have

The Karol Musher STARS Early Childhood Intervention Program was designed to help children with language, social and sensory motor challenges to attain skills required for transition into traditional school settings. The program provides a multi-disciplinary

special needs. In addition to being the recipient of the 2009 David H. White award and 2006 ERJCC Children’s Scholarship Scholarship Ball Honoree, Karol has been recognized with honors from numerous Jewish organizations, including the Bureau of Jewish Education (Yavneh), American Jewish Committee (Woman of Prominence), and Hadassah (Woman of Courage). “Karol has served the Houston community with enduring commitment,” said Joel Dinkin. “She deserves this recognition because of her lifetime achievement in the field of education, and most importantly her impact on the STARS preschool intervention program. We are grateful for her leadership, commitment to the ERJCC and the entire community.” “It is wonderful when a passionate volunteer like Karol Musher sees a community need and moves mountains to create a meaningful program like STARS,” said Ed Schreiber, Past President of the ERJCC and current Board Member. “It is making such a huge difference in family’s lives when they find such a program for their children. How fitting it is for her family to help fund the program and name it in Karol’s honor. The Mushers are role models for the community to see how to see a need, shape a solution, and help give it the financial resources to continue making a difference.” “I am very proud to have my name associated with STARS, and I very much look forward to its continued growth so that many more children and families can benefit from the enriching experience it provides,” said Karol Musher. To learn more about the Karol Musher STARS Early Childhood Intervention program visit

intervention in a highly structured, language based, creative and nurturing environment. ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

EXCLUSIVE ONE DAY SPECIAL! Registration Day Begins SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10* 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM *offer valid only February 10

Register Feb 10 at 2012 publishe d rates

MAY 29 – AUGUST 23

music golf

video game creator digital media soccer baseball

Half-Day & Full-Day Options 1, 2 & 4 Week Programs Available

NEW pARENT INFORMATION NIGHT 7:00 PM • THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7 ERJCC membership required for all camps.


Judaism And Ethics:


with Laykie Donin of Laykie’s Gourmet

An In-Depth Investigation








Wednesdays, February 6, 13, 20, 27 $20 per session Member/$25 Public $70 series Member/$90 Public 7:00 – 8:30 PM Classes are held at a private, kosher home

only egalitarian yeshiva in the United States, returns to Houston for a four-day

Join us for four sessions with Laykie Donin of Laykie’e Gourmet. Here is your opportunity to learn a few of her secrets and sample some delicious food.

scholar-in-residence program from February 24 through February 27, 2013.

Quick in the Kitchen · Feb. 6

Rabbi Tucker was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and earned a Ph.D. in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He was

Laykie will show us how to make quick, delicious and nutritious meals that are right for the whole family.

named one of Newsweek’s Top Fifty Rabbis in America in 2011 and 2012.

Delicious and Nutritious · Feb. 13

Dr. Rabbi Ethan Tucker, Co-Founder and Rosh Yeshiva of Mechon Hadar, the

Laykie will impress you with some recipes that will have the most health-conscious eaters asking for more.

Between Wisdom and Honor: When Divine Commands Threaten Human Dignity Sunday, February 24 • 7:30 PM Human beings are created in the divine image and the Torah is built on a foundation of basic human decency. How do we deal with situations where the observance of a commandment gets in the way of this larger vision? We will begin this series by exploring a Talmudic passage that addresses this tension and attempts to lay out a framework for integrating these sometimes competing impulses.

Was Abraham asked to Sacrifice His Ethics?

Ethical Norms as the Foundation of the Torah

Can’t Believe it’s Kosher! · Feb. 20

Monday, February 25 • 7:30 PM This lecture will delve into a bold essay by R. Moshe Shmuel Glasner (19th-20th c., Hungary), who spells out a theory of how Judaism ought to relate to modern values. We will explore his text as a basis for rethinking the interrelationship of traditionally Jewish obligations with contemporary crusades for environmental and economic justice. Can we affirm the power of universal ethics without harming our commitment to Judaism?

Learn how to transform some great dishes into kosher recipes that are sure to make you go back for seconds.

Simple Desserts · Feb. 27 Laykie will show you how to make some simple desserts that will make everyone say “wow.”

Tuesday, February 26 • 7:30 PM

Can Jewish Texts Be Unethical: Grappling with Difficult Sources

Great Jewish Debates

This lecture will explore anew the classic conflict between ethical commitments and religious duty in the Binding of Isaac. This biblical narrative plays a central role in Jewish prayer, has inspired countless Jews throughout the generations, and continues to haunt us on Rosh Hashanah. In the modern period, the Binding of Isaac has been used for more dramatic effect: making true devotion to God dependent on transcending one’s own ethical instincts. We will reevaluate this reading in an effort to reclaim the Binding of Isaac without sacrificing our own ethics in the process.

Wednesday, February 27 • 7:30 PM

Instructor: Jonathan Fass Mondays, January 28, February 4, 11, 18 7:00 – 8:00 PM $36 Member / $45 Public

Sometimes we encounter a Jewish text that seems to say something offensive and contrary to our ethical sense. How do we respond as heirs to this tradition while being true to our ethical instincts? In this lecture, we will explore one 19th century rabbi’s attempt to deal with Talmudic statements that appear to speak disparagingly about Gentiles. Through his approach, we will investigate what it means to take ownership of a tradition that does not, at least at first glance, intuitively match our ethical instincts.

$15 per lecture. To register go to


Center for Jewish Living and Learning

Tributes BARBARA FALIK CENTRAL PROGRAM WING In Honor of Lee Levit – Abigail Neiman and Marshall Levit BERTHA ALYCE CENTER FUND In Memory of Shari Epstein – Cassandra Smith BOOK FAIR FUND In Honor of Claire Rolnik Aloof – Susan and Jaime Ganc CHILDREN’S SCHOLARSHIP BALL In Memory of Bob Meinzer – Ellen and Michael Kleinman DONNA FRANKOFF JEWISH BOOK FAIR FUND In Honor of Marilyn Hassid – Rich Levy In Memory of Shari Epstein – Karen and Joseph Storthz EVELYN RUBENSTEIN JCC HOUSTON FUND In Memory of Shari Epstein – Loretta Cross In Memory of Shari Fisher Epstein – Matthew Hoffman GENERAL TRIBUTE FUND In Memory of Jack Turk – Tami and Gregg Sheena In Honor of Joel Dinkin – Sandra and Sam Block In Memory of Ron Paransky – Sherry and Gerald Merfish In Memory of Bob Meinzer – Judy and Mark Mucasey In Memory of Bob Meinzer – Karen and William Rubinsky In Memory of Sylvia Schreiber – Leslie and Russ Robinson In Memory of Shari Epstein – Bonnie and Marc Kasner In Memory of Shari Epstein – Irene and Alex Wolchansky In Memory of Shari Epstein – Susie and David Askanase In Memory of Shari Epstein – Carol and Michael Farquhar In Memory of Shari Epstein – Malcolm Lovett In Memory of Shari Epstein – Leslie and Sanford Weiner

Thank You to our Generous Donors! We would like to extend our sincere thanks to our many individual, corporate and foundation donors whose generous ongoing support helps the ERJCC continue to be a vital community asset.

GERALD RAUCH MEMORIAL FUND In Memory of Gerald Rauch – Rauch Family Trust In Memory of Gerald Rauch – Patricia and Mark Rauch In Memory of Gerald Rauch – Linda Susman In Honor of Edith Lewis – Lila Rauch In Honor of Jay Marks – Lila Rauch GIVING TREE CAMPAIGN FUND In Honor of Whitney Chambers – Judy and Gary Chambers In Honor of Ava and Maxwell Cherry – Reena and Byron Cherry In Honor of the STARS Program – Michelle Friedman Muscat In Honor of Whitney Gould – Pamela Gould In Honor of Bren & Drayden Johnson – Dawn and Lance Johnson In Honor of Alex and Owen Leif & all BAC Teachers & Staff – Jessica and Joshua Leif In Honor of Ajay D. Shah – Angela and Dipan Shah In Honor of the Elephant & Monkey Class – Olga and Todd Swanson In Honor of the Pre-K Panda Class – Laura Talisman In Honor of Zoe Segal – Elaine Baskin In Honor of All of My Grandchildren – Merle and Ronald Bloch In Honor of Branwen Burks – Amber Burks In Honor of Owen Leif – Phyllis Leif In Honor of Kristofer Melendez – Edgardo Melendez In Honor of Kevin Bloch – Nikki L. Morgan In Honor of Bonnie Kasner – Barbara and Hylton Nitsun In Honor of Ethan, Joshua & Zachary – Kimberlee and Gary Taylor In Honor of Aerin & Blair Carstensen – Lauren and Walter Carstensen In Honor of all the wonderful Teachers – Amy Harris In Honor of Bren Johnson – Loretta and Carl Krohn In Honor of Evan Rose – Edith Rose

In Honor of Ezra & Beryt Scott – Judi and Paul Scott In Honor of Liat Rappaport – Midge Wische In Honor of Max, Goldie & William Harris – Renee and James Harris In Honor of All BAC Staff – Morgan and Kevin Steinberg In Honor of Avery Fisher – Anne and Chris Fisher In Honor of Liat Rappaport – Abigail and Joey Rappaport In Honor of Annabel Qiu & Ethan Qiu – Yuhang Xing HARRY K. SMITH MEALS ON WHEELS FUND In Memory of Selma Light – Linda and Zvi Schiffman In Honor of Sharon Levit – Abigail Neiman and Marshall Levit In Honor of Mari Okabayashi – Alberto Puig In Honor of Marcia Forbes – Diane Schoendorf IRVIN KAPLAN CHILDREN’S SCHOLARSHIP FUND In Memory of Beryl Fisher – Elena and Joel Dinkin In Memory of Bob Meinzer – Elena and Joel Dinkin In Memory of Shari Epstein – Elena and Joel Dinkin In Memory of Shari Epstein – Kathy and Drew Berkman LEO HORVITZ SCHOLAR FUND In Honor of Ellen Rosenberg’s Speedy Recovery – Shirley and Sigmund Horvitz JCC MACCABI GAMES FUND In Memory of Shari Epstein – Sherry and Lenny Dubin J-SERVE FUND In Memory of Bob Meinzer – Sherry and Gerald Merfish MARILYN HASSID EMERGING AUTHOR BOOK FAIR FUND In Memory of Shari Epstein – Mitzi Shure and Jerry Wische

If you like a good argument, this course is for you! We will explore important debates in Jewish history, from the biblical, rabbinic and modern period that have had a profound influence on Judaism’s development throughout the centuries. Debates to be discussed include Hillel and Shammai’s debate on Jewish law, the Vilna Gaon and the Baal Shem Tov’s debate over spirituality, and Herzl and Isaac M. Wise’s debate over Zionism.

To register for CJLL programs, contact Nomi Barancik at 713.729.3200, ext. 3288 or

MARILYN LANDSBERG STEINER PRE-SCHOOL FUND In Memory of Bob Meinzer – Shirley and Isadore Landsberg In Memory of Harry Feltman – Shirley and Isadore Landsberg In Memory of Bob Meinzer – Cheryl and Haran Levy In Memory of Al Berger – Shirley and Isadore Landsberg MIKE GROSSMAN/JUDY RICHKER MACCABI SCHOLARSHIP FUND In Honor of Charlotte and Sam Axelrad – Vicky and Michael Richker In Honor of Leonard Weiner – Vicky and Michael Richker In Honor of Sheldon (Buddy) Gerson – Vicky and Michael Richker In Honor of Miriam and Jacob Lefkowitz – Vicky and Michael Richker In Memory of Beryl Fisher – Vicky and Michael Richker In Memory of Stanley Martin Greiss – Vicky and Michael Richker In Memory of Marlene Melamed – Vicky and Michael Richker OLIVER LAPIN CHILDREN’S BOOK FAIR FUND In Memory of Shari Epstein – Edward Rothberg RAYMOND E. PLOTKIN JCC MACCABI GAMES TENNIS SCHOLARSHIP FUND In Memory of Charles Levine – Elinor Cooper In Memory of Charles Levine – Rhoda Goldberg In Memory of Charles Levine – Cathy Knapp In Memory of Charles Levine – Steel Service Warehouse In Memory of Raymond Plotkin, William Plotkin and Charles Levine – Stephanie and Raymond Borgman In Memory of Charles Levine – Ellen and Bernard Appel In Memory of Charles Levine – Madeline and Martin Gold In Memory of Bob Meinzer – Joy and Joseph Kaplan In Memory of Charles Levine – Jinnis and Irv Kauffman In Memory of Charles Levine – Rozanne and Howard Rubin In Memory of Charles Levine – Barbara and Leon Kestenbaum In Memory of Charles Levine – Rosanne and William Margolis In Memory of Charles Levine – June and Gary Blumenthal In Memory of Charles Levine – Yetta Gresky In Memory of Charles Levine – Hattie and Gene Krupala

Center for Jewish Living and Learning Scholar Series

From Enlightenment to Intifada: FRENCH





UPCOMING CJLL CLASSES BEGINNING IN FEBRUARY Genesis: The Story of the First Jewish Family Beginning Monday Feb. 18 or Tuesday Feb. 19

Exodus: Revelation and Revolution Beginning Thursday Feb. 21

1000 Years of Rabbininc Commentary on the Story of Joseph Beginning Tuesday Feb. 19

Dr. Robert Zaretsky is a professor of modern French

Reading the Psalms

history at the Honors College of the University of Hous-

Exploring the Talmud of the Land of Israel

ton. Dr. Zaretsky is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, The Forward, Los Angeles Times and Le Monde Diplomatique. His lectures will address the history of the Jews of France from

Beginning Tuesday Feb. 19

Beginning Tuesday Feb. 19 or Thursday Feb. 21

From Destruction to Renewal: Responsa from the Holocaust and the State of Israel Beginning Thursday Feb. 21

the French Revolution to the modern period, focusing on the Dreyfus Affair, the Jews in Occupied France, and the relationship

For more information visit or call 713.729.3200 ext. 3288

between the French, the Jews, and the State of Israel after 1967. Jerusalem on the Seine: Jews and the French Revolution Thursday, January 24 7:30 PM

The Dreyfus Affair: How An “Affaire Française” Became Our Affair Thursday, March 21 7:30 PM

Modernity begins with the French Revolution—an observation that applies with particular relevance to European Jewry. Emancipated and enfranchised by the seismic events of 1789, when a revolutionary and secular state transformed them from aliens into citizens, French Jewry was launched into the modern age. We will discuss both the promise and pitfalls of this remarkable itinerary.

In 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, an officer in the French Army’s High Command, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island for acts of treason. As disturbing details emerged concerning the case—it happened that Dreyfus was Jewish—the nation was sundered in half between those who reminded France of its revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity and those who insisted that Jews could never be fully French.

Vichy Then and Now: The Jews of France in the Second World War Thursday, April 18 7:30 PM

From the Second World War to the Second Intifada: France and the Jews Today Thursday, May 2 7:30 PM

France’s military defeat in 1940 heralded the birth of the Vichy regime, which sought to turn the clock back to pre-revolutionary France. Central to this reactionary agenda was the regime’s battery of anti-Semitic laws—initiated without the slightest of nudges from the Nazis. Beginning in 1942, these laws enabled Nazi Germany’s application of the Final Solution to France, leading to the murder of nearly 75,000 Jews, both foreign and native-born. We shall discuss the motivations of the bureaucracy that created and applied these laws and reflect on those institutions and individuals that resisted them.

In 1967, the great political theorist (and secular Jew) Raymond Aron, upon hearing President Charles De Gaulle’s remark that the Jews were an “elite people, sure of themselves and domineering,” wondered if this opened “a new chapter in Jewish history and perhaps anti-Semitism.” With the surge of violence in North African quarters against Jews, climaxing in the horrific massacre at Toulouse, French Jews now ask themselves if they can remain both fully French and fully Jewish.

9th Annual

HOUSTON JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL Wednesday, March 6 – Sunday, March 17

featured films include: A Bottle in the Gaza Sea A bottle thrown into the sea begins a conversation between an Israeli young woman and a Palestinian young man. It gives them the strength to confront the harsh reality of their worlds, to grapple with it, and thereby ever so slightly, to change it.

Seymour Schwartz: A Home Movie Houston Premiere. Filmmaker Jon Schwartz profiles his father, Seymour, and extended Jewish family in Houston, spanning the 20th century.

Hava Nagila Follow the infectious party song on its fascinating journey from the shtetls of Eastern Europe to the cul-de-sacs of America in this hilarious and surprisingly deep film.

Register online at $10 Member / $15 Public (per lecture)

$36 Member / $48 Public (series pass)

These lectures are made possible in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.



Thanks to our community partner:


In Memory of Charles Levine – Jean Santos SOPH & AL NATKIN STARS PROGRAM FUND In Honor of Barbara and Raymond Kalmans – Linda and Jerry Rubenstein STARS PROGRAM In Honor of Ilana Noroski Insulbuck – Marjorie and Hans Mayer

................................................................................ Elton and Janet Lipnick, David Lipnick, and Myles and Amy Kelman underwrite Shabbat Dinners in memory of Paul Lipnick, an active senior participant, so that other active adults can enjoy the traditional meal and meaningful service to usher in Shabbat. Paul Lipnick enjoyed dining with friends, and his family has chosen this special way to honor his memory. ............................................................................................. PLEASE NOTE: Names and organizations listed in this newsletter reflect donations received by October 31, 2012. Great care has been exercised to ensure the proper recognition of our donors. If an error or omission does occur, we apologize and hope you will bring it to our attention. Please address all corrections with the Development Office, 713.729.3200, ext. 3103 or To make a donation visit the Support the ERJCC tab on our website..


Recognize special lifecycle events with a tribute to support a program or fund at the ERJCC. A gift can be made for a birthday, anniversary, promotion, sympathy, holiday, gradu-

FOUNDATIONS of Jewish Family Living


What are the Jewish values you want to teach your child? The ERJCC is delighted to announce that Saranne and Livingston Kosberg have generously underwritten a new program to create richer Jewish experiences for Houston parents. Entitled Foundations of Jewish Family Living, this new course from the Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning provides parents with the skills and knowledge to practice the core values of Judaism at home with their families. Topics include Essential Judaism, Creating Jewish Spaces and Welcoming the Stranger. The Foundations program runs throughout the year. 20 sessions will be offered in 4-5 week blocks. The book for the course is $54. After paying the initial fee of $54, parents may participate in as many sessions as they choose during the year at no additional charge. Facilitated by local rabbis and Jewish educators.

upcoming sessions: January 13, 20, 27, February 3 · 9:30 – 10:45 AM CLASSES TAKE PLACE AT THE ERJCC · CHILDCARE will be PROVIDED

ation, wedding, new baby,

*This program is particularly appropriate for parents of children ages 2 through 8, but all parents are welcome.

bar/bat mitzvah and more.

For more information about Foundations, please contact Rabbi Samantha Safran Bodner at or 713.729.3200 ext. 3322.




-Town made history hosting the JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest in August. More than 1500 teens from 40 delegations descended on the ERJCC for a week of athletic competition, artistic performance and meaningful community service. Team Houston is preparing to go back on the road to compete and perform in Austin and Orange County, California in the 2013 JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest. Team Houston will be coordinated by Dan Edelstein, as the ERJCC Staff Delegation Head, and Lenny Dubin and Debbie Kaplan as the ERJCC Lay Delegation Heads. Lenny Dubin has worked with the Houston JCC Maccabi program for more than 20 years. “In 2012, Houston proved to be one of the premier programs in the country,” says Dubin. “Jewish families all over Houston have embraced and supported our JCC Maccabi program. We have a strong group of staff, lay leaders,

community volunteers and volunteer coaches who make it all possible,” said Dubin. Debbie Kaplan serves as the Teen Services Committee Chair. “This year teens can continue to enjoy the program in different cities. You get to experience the program in

a totally different way when another city hosts,” said Debbie Kaplan, whose husband Rick will coach the Girls Softball 16U team in Orange County. Team Houston will send a delegation comprised of seven team

sports and five individual sports to the JCC of Austin from July 28 – August 2, 2013. Team Houston will also send five sports teams and ArtsFests teams to the Merage JCC of Orange County, California for the 2013 JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest from August 4-9. Brooke Todd will be returning to coach the Girls Volleyball 16U team for the second year. Coming off of a gold medal-winning year in 2012, Todd is looking forward to another meaningful experience for the team. “Last year was an amazing experience,” said Brooke Todd. “My favorite part was watching the team bond. They all came from different backgrounds, skill levels and experiences, and, for a coach, to watch them come together, play and hang out as a group was heartwarming.” To participate on Team Houston, all interested teens must either try out for a sports team or audition for an arts specialty. Tryouts will be held from January 13 – March 3 at the ERJCC facilities and in parks around the community for outdoor

sports. Tryouts will be held on Sunday afternoons. ArtsFest auditions begin on Monday, January 7 and continue until February 28, and will be held from 3:00 – 6:00 PM Monday through Friday. Teens interested in auditioning for an ArtsFest arts specialty should contact Dan Edelstein, Team Houston Delegation Head, to set up an audition time. A complete tryout schedule and audition information is available for download at teamhouston. The JCC Maccabi Games are open to Jewish boys and girls between 13 – 16 years old. The JCC Maccabi ArtsFest is open to Jewish boys and girls between 13 – 17 years old. All Team Houston participants must be members of the ERJCC and adhere to all deadlines associated with the registration process. For more information regarding Team Houston and the JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest, please visit our website teamhouston. For any questions and immediate assistance, please contact Dan Edelstein at or 713.838.7200.


Sharing Knowledge…A Lasting Gift Relevant and Timeless: Viewing the World through Opera

Tuesdays February 5, 12, 19, 26 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Explore the thoughts and ideas of society – past, present and future – as revealed through highlights from this season’s Houston Grand Opera repertoire. Discover opera’s impact of timeless story, music and tradition that speaks to the soul, heart and mind. La Bohème / Show Boat – Italian and American storytelling about love in difficult times. Cruzar la Cara de la Luna / Past the Checkpoints – Relevant storytelling with a new sound; the world’s first Mariachi Opera and the resulting stories. Tristan and Isolde / East + West Chamber Operas – A look to the future through music and storytelling. Brundibár and Other Works from Terezin – A look to the past through music and storytelling. Facilitators: Sandra Bernhard, Director of HGOco, Houston Grand Opera’s unique initiative to explore ways of making opera relevant to changing audiences. Mena Mark Hanna, is dramaturg at Houston Grand Opera and Lecturer at the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University.

Immortal Words at Milestone Moments in History

Tuesdays February 5, 12, 19, 26 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM Acquire fresh insights and new perspectives as we span history from first president, George Washington to World War II through famous speeches and documents. > Washington’s Farewell Address – a warning against sectionalism. > The Treaty of Versailles – WWI peace treaty that weakened Germany’s hope for a new democratic state and paved Hitler’s way to power. > Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address – a hope for reunification after the sectionalism of the Civil War. > Peace for our Time – Neville Chamberlain’s 1938 appeasement speech to the British Parliament in defense of the Munich Agreement. Facilitators: Louis Wu, retired physician assistant from the Houston VA Medical Center and active participant of Great Books of Houston and the Short Story Group. Ursula Muenzel, German-Jewish history expert who has worked for the German Foreign Ministry and the Leo Baeck Institute in New York City. Peter Gingiss, retired University of Houston professor of English specializing in linguistics and rhetoric. Aaron Howard, journalist at Jewish Herald-Voice and past instructor at Houston Community College.

The Bible in Living Color: Biblical Stories Reflected in the Art of European Masters

Wednesdays February 6, 13, 20, 27 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM European painters of the Baroque and Renaissance periods created timeless paintings that explore the central narratives of the Bible. Discuss Biblical texts and their Rabbinic and artistic interpretations in the hands of great painters such as: > Rembrandt > Rubens > Titian Facilitator: Jonathan Fass, Assistant Executive Director at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center.

Tune in to 20th Century Music

Wednesdays February 6, 13, 20, 27 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Delve into the rich world of 20th century music and learn about one of its great masterpieces, Wozzeck by Alban Berg. > Overview of highlights from this era. > What to listen for in 20th century music. > Exploring Alban Berg’s intense opera Wozzeck acknowledged as one of the great masterpieces of the last century. The Houston Symphony presents a concert version of this work on March 1 and 2. Facilitator: Anthony Brandt, composer and Associate Professor of Composition and Theory, The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.

Learn More, Pay Less If you register for more than one Symposium class, you will receive a $10 discount on each additional class. This discount is not available if you register online. To receive a multiple class discount contact Esther Bethke at 713.595.8186.

1 Class: $28 ERJCC Member / $39 Public 2 Classes: $46 ERJCC Member / $68 Public 3 Classes: $64 ERJCC Member / $97 Public 4 Classes: $82 ERJCC Member / $126 Public



ance Month 2013 kicks off with Tirkedu Houston!, a fun-filled weekend of enthusiastic and energetic Israeli dancing Friday, January 11 - Sunday, January 13. Los Angeles based world- renowned Israeli dance teacher/choreographer David Dassa will lead the workshop weekend that includes an Erev-Shabbat get together, teaching sessions for intermediate to advanced dancers, a Saturday night dance party and Sunday review session. Mixed Bag on Sunday, January 20 is an exhilarating array of young Houston pre-professional dance companies, and this year features Carver Dance Company, Exclamation Dance Company, High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), and Vitacca Dance Project. “This concert is thrilling because we are seeing the future of dance—talented teenagers whose professional dance careers have yet to begun,” noted ERJCC Dance Director, Maxine Silberstein. Houston Choreographers X6, returns to Dance Month Saturday, January 26 and Sunday, January 27 and features six of Houston’s dance professionals: Kristen Frankiewicz,

Laura Gutierrez, Lydia Hance, Erin Reck, Sandra Organ Solis and jhon r. stronks. Kristen Frankiewicz, a BFA in Dance graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, has performed and choreographed throughout the states as well as internationally. Laura Gutierrez, a native Houstonian, received her BFA in

contemporary dance from the University of North Texas. Lydia Hance is the founder and artistic director of Frame Dance Productions ( Erin Reck received her BA from the University of Washington and her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Erin is currently an Adjunct Professor at Sam Houston State University. Sandra Organ Solis, former Houston Ballet soloist, is the founder/artistic director of Earthen Vessels. jhon r. stronks currently is the Director of the Houston Metropolitan Dance Center’s pre-professional dance company, The Houston Met Too. He is the Artistic Director of “there… in the sunlight,” a project heading

that functions as a vehicle for jhon’s independent choreography. Motion Captured, An Evening of Dance on Film takes place Saturday, February 2. Curated by Houston dancer/teacher Ashley Horn, the evening features dance on film by local and national choreographers and film makers. A talk back with local choreographers and film makers follows the films. Company E, a contemporary repertoire dance company, dance education and interdisciplinary arts organization based in the US capital city of Washington D.C., emphasizes international collaborations with the great choreographers and dancers at work today. Under the Artistic Direction of Paul Gordon Emerson and Kathryn Sydell Pilkington, Company E performs Saturday, February 9. “Company E focuses on the next generation of brilliant, cutting edge choreography,” stated Silberstein. Their performance in Houston is entitled NEXT: An Evening of Choreography of Israel and Spain and is an Israeli influenced program with four of the main five works

Dance Month events take place at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston, 5601 S. Braeswood, Houston, TX 77096. For tickets and information visit or call 713.551.7255.

connecting to Israel. The program includes choreography by Rachel Erdos, Andrea Miller and Roni Koresh, and Thomas Noone and Nuria Martinez. In addition to presenting performances, Dance Month at the Kaplan Theatre brings extraordinary companies to teach master classes to intermediate and advanced dancers at affordable prices in partnership with SPA at the ‘J’. This year Dance Month will host master classes by Stephen Petronio Company and Motionhouse.

Dance Month at the Kaplan Theatre is funded in part by the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center Patrons of the Arts, a grant from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Houston Endowment Inc, JPMorgan Chase &Co, and RBC Wealth Management. United Airlines is the official airline of the ERJCC. Marriot Houston Westchase is the official hotel of the ERJCC.

New Mishpacha and Me Shabbat Experience Y O U R N E I G H B O R H O O D , Y O U R F R I E N D S , Y O U R W AY


Save the Date for Upcoming Events: February 10 Purim Extravaganza

May 12 Shavuot Party

Mishpacha and Me (M&M) proudly invites you to celebrate Shabbat your

March 10 Passover Celebration

June 8 Havdallah Pool Party

way with the M&M Shabbat Experience: building communities near you.

April 21 Lag B’Omer Family Fun

This program is a unique way to celebrate Shabbat with other young Jewish families and friends in your own neighborhood, in a way that is meaning-

The M&M Shabbat experience is specifically designed for Jewish families living in the Heights, Montrose, Uptown, Galleria, Med Center and West University neighborhoods.

ful to you. Families are invited to host Friday night dinner, Shabbat lunch or Saturday evening Havdallah in their homes or other local venues with 3-10 other families. Hosts can invite their friends or open their home to

Want more info?

newcomers. Candles, challah, wine/grape juice and Judaic content is on us!

Email or call 713.551.7200 ext. 4207





Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage


Houston, Texas Permit No. 6217

Inside Connections

dance at a glance

...................... Dance Month continues to spotlight prominent choreographers, master teachers, companies and dancers. JANUARY 10 - FEBRUARY 9

...................... Tirkedu Houston! Friday, Jan 11 - Sunday, Jan 13

Featuring David Dassa, an Israeli dance teacher/choreographer based in Los Angeles, who will be leading the workshop. Mixed Bag Sunday, Jan 20 3:00 PM • Concert Mixed Bag is an exhilarating array of pre-professional Houston Dance, featuring Carver Dance Company, Exclamation Dance Company, High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and Vitacca Dance Project. Houston Choreographers X6 Saturday, Jan 26 8:00 PM • Concert Sunday, Jan 27 3:00 PM • Matinee Six dynamic professional dancers are brought together for an evening of dance presenting works in a contemporary style. Commissioned this season are Kristen Frankiewiez, Laura Gutierrez, Lydia Hance, Erin Reck, Sandra Organ Solis and jhon r. stronks These innovative companies will premier a new work.

Motion Captured An Evening of Dance on Film Sunday, February 12 7:00 PM • Short films

Dance Month is excited to present this evening of dance on filmy by local and national choreographers and filmmakers. Company E NEXT: An Evening of Choreography of Israel and Spain Saturday, Feb 9 Company E, a contemporary repertoire dance company based in Washington D.C., emphasizes international collaborations with the great choreographers and dancers at work today. SPA AT THE J DANCE MASTER CLASSES Stephen Petronio Company Thursday, Jan 10 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM Motionhouse Thursday, Feb 23 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM Dance Month at the Kaplan Theatre is funded in part by the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center Patrons of the Arts, a grant from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Houston Endowment Inc., JPMorgan Chase and RBC Wealth Management. United Airlines is the official airline of the ERJCC. Marriott Houston Westchase is the official hotel.

Calendar January 12 12 13 13 14 19 24 25-27 26 28

Dance Month at the Kaplan Theatre begins Kids Nite Out Winter Fitness Expo Mishpacha & Me: Tu B’Shevat Nature Festival Cuba, A Jewish Mission Havdallah & Hoops Jerusalem on the Seine: Jews and the French Revolution 2013 Harris J. Weingarten Tennis Tournament Kids Nite Out Preschool Open Enrollment Begins

February 2 4-5 5 9 9 10 16 22 22-24 28

Kids Nite Out Preschool Open House New Symposium Classes Begin Houston Connect 68: JoyStix Dance Month at the Kaplan Theatre ends J-Camps Registration Day Kids Nite Out Jewish Film Club - For Your Consideration Houston National Invitational Israeli Music Concert

March 2 6 21 23 25 26 27 29 31




We’ll customize an unforgettable dream party for your child age four and up. Just pick your favorite theme, and leave the rest to us!


For more information, contact Amanda Stein at the ERJCC: 713.729.3200, ext. 3121 or

EVELYN RUBENSTEIN JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER 5601 S. Braeswood | Houston, Texas 77096 erjcchouston .org




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Birthday Parties

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23rd Annual Children’s Scholarship Ball Houston Jewish Film Festival Begins The Dreyfus Affair: How An “Affaire Française” Became Our Affair Kids Nite Out Passover – ERJCC closes at 3:00 PM Passover – ERJCC closed Passover – ERJCC re-opens at 6:00 PM Jewish Film Club - Partisans of Vilna For more information Passover – ERJCC closes at 6:00 PM visit

J-Connections Winter 2013  

The newsletter of the ERJCC Houston