June 2015

President's Message

The last few weeks at Shaar Hashalom have been busy ones. Here’s a recap…

We celebrated the 2015 confirmation class of Ben Freedkin, Michelle Rumann and Steven Zaguli. They led the service beautifully and their speeches were thoughtful and unique in their own ways (not-so-much-of-a-spoiler alert - Rabbi Federow cried). Mazel Tov to all three of you and your families for all your hard work. The caliber of students our religious school develops is a testament to the hard word of our education director Katy Izygon and our wonderful staff of teachers and of course our Education VP Holli Hirsch. Thanks to the confirmation class families for sponsoring a delicious oneg after the service. We will be including their speeches in the following issue.

I mentioned last month that we dedicated the synagogue library in honor of Katy and her 15 years of leadership as our education director. The dedication was established years ago at the $20,000 level. The board made the decision to commit to the dedication and fundraise the $20,000 afterward. We have received two starting pledges of $1,000 each for this effort. All money raised by this activity will be placed in the education dedicated fund to be used solely for the education of your children. Please consider making a donation in Katy’s honor and her 15 years of dedication by sending a check to the synagogue. The opportunity is not only open to current families but to all past members and their children as well – lets make this a huge success!

May also brought the 70th Anniversary of Howard Crupain’s bar mitzvah. It was a wonderful celebration with many of Helen and Howard’s family and friends joining us for the day and a special Kiddush luncheon afterward. Howard was truly surprised when Nurit called him to the bima for his aliyah. Then the big surprise came when it was announced that their children had dedicated the gathering space in their name. I was honored to do the tribute speech and present them with the plaque that will be hanging in the gathering space soon. Thank you to the Crupain family for their support of Shaar Hashalom and Mazel Tov to the entire family.

The sanctuary was rocking with another Acoustic Shabbat led by Joe Buchanan with special guest Jonathan Goldstein and a special performance by Jonathan’s son Andrew as well. July 17th will be the date of the next one – hope to see you there!

On behalf of the board, we want to wish everyone a very happy, healthy and Jewish summer!


Rabbi's Message

The movie Deep Impact is about a meteor heading for earth. After the impact of a smaller meteor causing massive flooding and destruction, the President of the United States gives a speech to the people, in which he repeats the line, "But the waters receded."

This is the way it is. The waters that destroy come up, do their damage, and then recede, we clean up, and build again. This last week, as i write this, the Jewish area of Houston got hit pretty badly with flooding. If one were to look down the block on certain streets, every single house had piles three to six feet high, of destroyed carpeting, mattresses, shelves from chests of drawers. It looked like a war zone was being cleaned up, and, in some ways, it was. That was then, and now, most of that is cleaned up, and the streets look normal, although i am quite sure that the lives of the families within those homes will not be back to normal for a while, perhaps a long while. But they will get that way.

This is the way it is. The waters that destroy come up, do their damage, and then recede, we clean up, we build again. It sounds like a cliche, but it is the way our lives run, with or without the threat and destruction from water. Things happen, do their damage, but then we clean up and rebuild. And it hurts, and it is hard, but we do it.

Some might say to this pattern in our lives, that Gd does not give us something we cannot handle. To this I respond, Then Gd, please make me weak, so i do not have to undergo these kinds of things! But they will come, anyway. So, all i can do... all we can do, is to just clean up and rebuild. And along the way, ask Gd for the strength to get through the hurt and difficulty of cleaning up, and maybe be thankful, as best we can, that it was not worse.


We are very fortunate to have Elizabeth Bell coordinating and organizing activities for our upcoming garage sale on Sunday, July 12th and  Sunday, July 19th.   Currently, we are still accepting any donations but are limiting the number of printers and other related computer items as they do not sell well.  Please contact Elizabeth or the office for pick up of any large items. This, will once again, include our book sale to help raise money for our library.  Thanks to Hedy and Sharon R. 's hard work last year, we were able to order comfortable furniture for the library.
Sisterhood was very lucky to get the July 17/18  Shabbat weekend as that turned out to be our regular Acoustic Shabbat.   We will be working with Joe to present a very special musical Shabbat. Be sure to join us on Saturday morning as well when our ladies will participate.
We usually have our Paid-up Membership in the Fall, but we will again be having our membership sign-up tables when we sign up for High Holy Days.  Please note, at this time, we also ask for participation in our Break Fast.
Sisterhood will again be part of our calendar planning session with the synagogue office, Men's Club, Adult Ed., and Religious School.


As ours is an on-going position, we are always talking with visitors and guests to CSH. We also appreciate all of our members who help us out in this endeavor. Remember: you are the voice of our congregation. We have also been working with our latest new converts and hqope they will consider joining our Jewish family. Several of them have been active in several aspects of CSH and have commented that our synagogue family will be the only one they would join.

A very special Mazeltov to Kate Flanagan, Rita Janoe, Lois Milstead, Kristi Doss, Lesley LaRoe, Dustin Jackson, Matthew Morris, and John Igneri. Several are in the process of joining us and one family already is a member. They are also most welcome to join Men's Club and Sisterhood..

We continue to work on our tri-fold information pamphlets; I would like this finished in August for a possible coffee membership event to be planned before the High Holy Days. This is currently in the planning stages as well as implementing some new technology ideas. Also, please be aware in the near future we will begin work on our new directory.