March 2015

Rabbi's Message

There is a phenomenon called March Madness. It refers to the playoffs in college basketball. I hear that millions of dollars are spent each year in betting on who will win, and there are those who offer their prognosis of who the last four teams to play will be, or something like that.

There are other kinds of March Madness. There is the madness that comes with the arrival of Spring. The days are getting longer, Daylight Savings begins and we change our clocks. There is the madness that comes with the beginning of an allergy season. (Then again, in Houston, each of the four seasons has its allergies!)

There is also the madness of Purim, when we cheer for Mordechai and Esther and Vashti, and boo and hiss and stomp our feet when we say the name of Haman (boo! hiss!), and we dress up in costumes. As you may know, I dress up as Movie Titles. This year, I dressed up by holding a can of corn and wearing a sign that read, Delivery Boy. The movie? It was a teenager's movie, from a very popular book for teenagers, that was required reading about 15 years ago, or so. The movie title of my costume was, "The Maze Runner" (the maize runner!). See, even I have a touch of the March Madness!

So, why all this madness in March? I think it is because the Winter has always been a little stifling. We are cooped up in our homes more than we would like with the rainy season, or, if we were to be living in the East Coast, we are cooped up in our homes from the winter snow storms. In other words, March is the early Spring when we can break out of our Winter Doldrums and, well, just break out! Have Fun! Go a little (but only a little!) crazy! Its like shaking up a bottle of a carbonated beverage. It is just aching to bubble out and release the built up pressure.

That is a part of what the celebration of Purim and the other March Madnesses do for us. It helps us release the pressure we cannot let go of, that has built up over the Winter months. 

So, this month, release the pressure, but gently!

Rabbi Stuart Federow


We are very excited to share this special news:  CSH Sisterhood’s efforts in the areas of programming, activities and interests has been recognized on a national level and we will receive Judaism’s ‘Jewel in the Crown Award’ at the Regional Conference in Winnipeg, Canada, at the end of April.

 These last two months have been very busy and  productive for our CSH Sisterhood.  Our February program kicked off our Dress for Success Tea; thanks to Sheilla, Hedy and Andrea for excellent planning and decorating for our Tea.  The room was beautifully decorated using

China teapots, glassware and serving traditional, delicious cucumber tea sandwiches, scones and sweets.  We enjoyed a large turn-out and Hedy Wolpa shared the story and importance for our Dress for Success project.  Clothing donations may still be dropped off at the synagogue during office hours until Sunday, March 22nd.  This is the eighth year of our Sisterhood Tea and this year’s has been one of our most successful event ever.

Our Mishloach Manot bags for Purim, our primary fundraiser for the year, has also been very successful.  A special ‘thank you’ to Sheilla, Cathy and all those who baked our hamantaschen, those who helped to stuff the bags on Thursday evening, February 24th. Also, a Todah Rabah to all our congregation members who ordered their bags through Sisterhood.  Planning is now underway for a shared event, a Road Rally/Scavenger Hunt with Men’s Club towards the end of May.  This road rally should prove to be a fun-filled event for everyone !

We are hoping to have a Passover Tasting & Recipe Exchange sometime in April.  Please watch for our flyer.

 Special thanks to Sharon Rosenthal who has volunteered to head our Nominating Committee and she will be interested to have volunteers to help plan our officers for next year.  If you are interested, please give her a call.

Risa & Leslie
Sisterhood Co-Presidents

Men's Club

Men's Club has been busy these past few months and I have been remiss in sharing all of the events that we have been involved in.

In January, Calvin Wolff presented an interesting and technical perspective on global warming. Thank you Calvin for taking the time to come in and speak with us.  There was good attendance and lots of questions/dialog. 

In February, with the help of Carl Schwanke and other volunteers we celebrated the world wide wrap. We taught students to use Teffilin and then came together for a morning service where everyone wrapped.  The World Wide Wrap is sponsored by the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs and is an annual event.

At our February breakfast meeting ,we watched a movie Paper Clips. which documents the journey of a rural school district as they learned about the Holocaust.

Working with the religious school, we helped to organize the Purim Carnival. Many thanks to all of the volunteers for their efforts to organize, move, setup, tear down, etc.. Despite the rain, we had a successful effort and raised money to support the religious school. Special thanks to all of our ride/game/event sponsors. For all of our parents, children and volunteers who helped run the games, we are especially grateful. 

This past weekend, Men's Club was there to support the annual Kosher Chili Cookoff held at the JCC. While our Eternal Flaming Chili did not win, we are proud of our team. Thanks to the Freedkin family for their recipe and Ben and Josh Freedkin for their cooking skills. Also, special thanks to Carl, Howard, Ronnie, Ben, Josh and the Rabbi for coming out at 6:00am to chop, slice, and cook.

Our next events include our monthly meeting in April on the 12th, supporting Yom Hashoah with our Yellow Candle Project and the annual congregation picnic at the end of the religious school year. If you are interested in joining men's club or participating in one of events, please contact David Hirsch at 

We look forward to seeing you at our next breakfast or event.

David Hirsch
Men's Club President

Intergenerational Seder

Once again, with Passover approaching, it is time for the National Council of Jewish Women’s Intergenerational Seder and they  are welcoming the Clear Lake ladies once again.  Last year, CSH had about 12 ladies attending.  Beverly Sufian has sent us the information on registration and location; it will again  be held at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center, 5601 South Braeswood Blvd.

Everyone is invited to attend and participate in the story of the exodus from Egypt from the prospective of women’s hearts.  We will also celebrate women’s roles in the history of the Jewish people using original readings and spirited music.

The Women’s Seder will be held on Thursday, March 26, 2015, with a light Seder supper catered by Layke and with Cantor Marilyn Ladin  conducting the Seder with guest musicians. 

The Seder will begin at 6:30 P.M. with registration opening at 6:00 P.M.  The suggested donation is  $22.00 to cover food costs.  Also, non-perishable Passover food items will be collected to share with those not able to get their Passover items.

It is an especially inspiring evening spent with women from all over the Houston area.  Hope you can join us !!

Please RSVP by sending your $22.00 (payable to NCJW GHS) to:

P. O. Box 3011
Bellaire, Texas 77402 

For more information, please contact Beverly Sufian at or call Risa Stein, 832-752-6513.  Carpools can be organized, if needed. 


Kari and I are very excited to begin our new year with some  great changes and new ideas as your Membership Trustees.  We would also like to hear from you, our members; please share your ideas or suggestions with us.  Feel free to mail or email your suggestions to us; we will be happy to hear from you.

We are currently updating our tri-fold information brochure as well as rewriting the information in our membership packets.  We will be sharing  our new ideas with you & hope you will contact us as well.  Please continue being our membership ambassadors when you meet guest at CSH; introduce yourself and welcome them to our synagogue.  Many of you have done just that in the past, and, thanks to you, we are known as a very warm and welcoming congregation.  Also, we have new members, thanks to your efforts.

This month,  we’d like to welcome our newest members, Joshua & Netanya Utay; please welcome them to our congregation family.  As always, our new members will receive a ‘Welcome Bag’ with wine, candles and  candlesticks as our gift.

Looking forward to seeing you at Shabbat services,

Kari Sokolow
Risa Stein
Co-Membership Trustees


The Torah commands every person to insure their animals are fed, and in the proper time.  Actually, we are commanded to feed our animals before we eat ourselves.  The Talmud derives this from the verse “And I will give grass in your field for your livestock” and only thereafter “and you will eat and be sated.”   So this being the holiday of Passover, we are setting up the first Congregation Shaar Hashalom Blessing of the Animals.  Please join us on Sunday April 12th at 12:35 in the playground area after the conclusion of Sunday School for this new and exciting event.  Our own Rabbi Federow will give the blessing which is thanking G-d for all the animals in our lives.  The event should last no longer than 15-20 minutes.  These furry friends add so much to all our lives, so don’t miss the chance to participate.  Please be aware that if you are not comfortable with bringing your pet, you can always bring something belonging to the animal, a collar, or even a picture.  We are going to have some short rules to follow so we insure a safe event for everyone.

  1. All dogs must be on a secure leash
  2. All cats must be in a carrier
  3. All small animals, guinea pigs, gerbils, rabbits, reptiles,  must be in a carrier or ventilated box
  4. No elephants allowed
  5. Please bring poop bags to use if necessary and water for your animals
  6. No animals will be allowed in the buildings
  7. No children under the age of 14 will be allowed unless accompanied by their parent or an adult
  8. Parents with children please bring the animal with you when you pick up your child at 12:30.  No animals will be allowed to attend Sunday School, sorry.

In addition, aren’t we always looking for ways to perform a mitzvah?    What about all the animals in shelters that could use a good meal?  Please bring a bag of dog or cat food to this  event as we are going to try and see just how much food we can gather together to make a huge donation to one of the local animal shelters.  Let’s see just how much food we can gather for these animals!!!!

So save the date!  Sunday April 12th at 12:35.   All fur legged friends will leave with a goody bag of treats.   This is a great way to meet new congregants or see old friends.  Is it true that we really look like our pets?   This is the time to check that out!  Hope to see everyone there.  If we get rained out, we will reschedule for the following Sunday April 19th at the same time. 

Social Action Committee
Tammy Allison and Ronnie Weiss

Kadima Convention 2015
SWUSY and the Oy-limpians Congregation Ahavath Sholom, Fort Worth, TX

Join us March 27-29
SWUSY's Kadima Convention is headed to Fort Worth for an epic weekend! With programs related to Greek mythology, Percy Jackson, and more! Spend this extraordinary weekend with new and old friends from all over Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana!

Online Registration
Last year, we moved to a new online registration system called Regpacks. If you have a login and password from signing up for a previous event please use the same login. Otherwise, you will need to create a new account. Please note that this system retains your application information for each program year, so if this is your first convention this year, you will have to complete most of the application (even if you are using an existing login. If you have any trouble with the registration process, please check out our FAQ or be in touch. Please make sure and keep track of your login information for future events.

Transportation, Scholarship, and Membership
All transportation is organized on the chapter level. Your chapter advisor should be in touch with information about the travel plans. Under certain circumstances, we can work out partial participation, though no one may come/go during Shabbat. If you plan to make separate travel plans from your chapter or need partial participation, you must clear it with both your advisor and Maury at least 2 weeks before convention.

Please be in touch with your chapter advisors if you would like to see if scholarship is available. Each chapter has different policies and procedures.

Membership: All participants must be registered members of Kadima before attending the convention (5th graders are exempt). Please be in touch with your chapter advisor to find out how to sign up!

Convention Fee - $118
Registration - 3:00 pm to 3:45 pm, Friday Convention Ends: Noon, Sunday

Convention Application/Online Registration

Congregation Ahavath Sholom
4050 South Hulen Street, Fort Worth, TX 76109