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Thoughts, notes and happenings...

Chabad of Uptown and personal diary updates! Please comment on our posts, we would love to hear from you!

Shabbos & American "Idle" Purim?

Uptown Stuff….

  • Shabbos: See y'all this weekend in Uptown (March 2-3) for some Shabbos action. Friday 6:30pm (want to join us for dinner?) Shabbos 10:00am - lunch following. Of course w/ cholent!
  • Sat. Night - American “Idle” Purim: OK. I got the vote. We will change the name for Purim. It is now American "Idle" Purim! Apropos for the time America wastes on this hype! To clarify: you do not need to act or come in costume to enjoy the party! Audience can either act or be a judge! (Character/Talent registration requested. Not so FINE PRINT: No singing. No inappropriate dress.- Please). Multimedia Megillah, Purim feast, fun for the kids and more! Saturday night, March 3, 8pm! Please, please RSVP
  • Mommy & Me is off to a great start. See winter photo pics on the gallery here!

In other news...

  • The construction of the Chabad Lubavitch Center on Fondren is in high gear. See an awesome edited YouTube video (clips taken with my handy Canon SD digital camera) of them drilling, belling and pouring the piers here.
  • As I wrote last time, I took the kids to the children's museum. Pictures are here and a video of Mendel engineering a basket delivery pole is on my blog here. (BTW, please comment, holler or criticize my posts there, I would love to hear from you!
  • The in-laws are coming! Chanie's fam will spend Pesach with us for the third year! Thanks to JetBlue for having a winter storm meltdown (pardon pun) last week, prices dropped to $123 roundtrip NYC-Houston!
  • Personal Seder invite: As this email goes to close family and friends, please let us know if you would like to join us for either one of the two seders at our home, on April 2 or 3. Chanie & I would love to have you and have you meet her family!
  • Heading west on Portal Drive, going home to get my kids for school, I was rammed in the right rear from on oncoming SUV yesterday. He bent his front grill and I get to drive a dilapidated car and rear bumper, and have a stiff neck! Why don’t accidents happen at more convenient times? Maybe I will post pics soon….

Purim around the town…

  • See a complete Purim schedule of Purim activities in Houston by clicking here.
  • Sunday - Purim Spotlight: ComedySportz Purim at JCC - Purim day, Chabad Outreach of Houston will be putting on an hilarious Purim party at the JCC on Sunday, March 4 at 3:45 pm.
    Visit their website for more information and to RSVP!
    About ComedySportz: ComedySportz is the Houston's longest running improv show. Founded in 1990, ComedySportz Houston consistently provides a fun, interactive, competitive improv show to audiences of all ages.  Clean comedy for everyone. ComedySportz celebrates the creative human spirit, not the rants of a potty mouth. Like in sports, fouls are issued to all transgressors including loyal fans. We welcome grandmas and bachelor parties alike! 
    Comedy played as a sport, not comedy about sports. ComedySportz pits two teams of improvisers in a battle for laughs and points vis a vis scenes, games, and songs based on audience suggestions. At ComedySportz, the audience is the winner Victory at a ComedySportz match is awarded to the team favored by the audience. Because suggestions vary, no match is the same. Every match is live, hilarious, clean, foolproof, fast-paced and positive. 

Mendel engineering at Children's Museum of Houston

I figured out why this is not playing for many of you. In order to view the video, you must be logged into YouTube, and be part of the list you shared the video with (i.e. Friends or Family). If you are not, the video will display "Loading," but the video will not load. AHA!


TERUMAH: Make your home a sanctuary!

This coming Tuesday, the ninth of Adar, marks  the anniversary of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe's arrival in the United States.

An insight of his on this week's portion: We read the verse, "Make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell within them." Why does G-d say He will dwell in "them" and not in "it"? Within them, as explained by Chasidic literature, means within every Jew. For, within the soul of every Jew is a place devoted and dedicated to G-dliness.

The Previous Rebbe explained: The site of the sanctuary remains sacred, even in times of exile and desolation. For the destruction of the Temple is limited to its building alone. The foundation of the Temple, ananloguos for every Jewish individual's sanctuary, however, remains in its holy state, irrespective of seeming desctruction..

Expanding on this idea, the Rebbe spoke on numerous occasions about the need to turn our homes into mini-sanctuaries. Make our homes sanctuaries for Torah study, charity, and prayer. In addition, we would do well to fill the house with true Jewish furnishings - Jewish books and a charity box attached to a wall so that it becomes part of the actual structure.

Each family member, including children of all ages, can also participate by making their own rooms into mini-sanctuaries. Torah study, prayer, and charity can all be practiced in the mini-sanctuary, as well as other mitzvot.
Within every Jew, within each Jewish home, is that spark of G-dliness that remains totally indestructible. It is the sanctuary that G-d commanded us to make in this week's Torah portion. May we all merit to beautify and enhance our own personal sanctuary. Editor

Adapted from Lchaim Weekly

A thought about Good Mornings....

MISHPATIM: This Shabbat, the joyous month of Adar will be blessed.

This Shabbat, the joyous month of Adar will be blessed.

At a Chasidic gathering nearly 20 years ago, the Rebbe told the following story:

One of the tzadikim of Poland, when still a little boy, asked his father for an apple. His father, however, refused to give it to him.

The enterprising youngster proceeded to recite a blessing over the apple: "Baruch atah... borei pri haetz - Blessed are You... who created fruit of the trees!"

The father could not possibly allow the blessing to have been recited in vain. And so, he promptly handed the youngster the apple. The Rebbe used this story to illustrate the following point:

In our situation today, if the Jewish people begin now to rejoice in the Redemption, out of absolute trust that G-d will speedily send us Moshiach, this joy in itself will (as it were) compel our Father in heaven to fulfill His children's wish and to redeem them from exile.

Needless to say, the Rebbe was not suggesting the use of mystical incantations or the like to "force" the premature advent of the end of the exile. "We are simply speaking of serving G-d with exuberant joy," the Rebbe explained.

The month of Adar brings with it not only the injunction to increase in joy, but with every command we are also given the power and energy to fulfill that command.

So, right from the start of the month, let us increase in our happiness, do mitzvot with more enthusiasm, and rejoice NOW in the imminent Redemption.

Good Shabbos!

Rabbi Chaim, Editor

Shabbos, Mommy & Me and American Idol Purim

Dear Friends,

News in Uptown & Young Adults...
  • This Shabbos: As always, Friday 6:30 pm; Kabbalat Shabbat followed by dinner for all. 10am on Shabbos day followed by the best cholent this side of the Mississippi. Mark your calendars for future weekends: March 2-3, 16-17 & 30-31, April 13-14 & 27-28.
    BTW, even when Chanie and I are not there for Shabbos, Moishe Melnik has offered to keep the lights on for us for all those who want to come daven Friday night or Shabbos day at the same times. A minyan has been achieved in the past - even for those weeks - and you are more then welcome to stop in.
  • Report: On Feb. 2, a great time was had by all, with great conversation, singing and camaraderie at the young singles and couples Shabbos. If you missed it - well, join us next time!
  • March 3: American Idol Purim! Show all you are a star at our "American Idol" Purim. Come in costume and show us your any talent and we will all vote on the winner! (Character/Talent registration requested. Not so FINE PRINT: No singing. No inappropriate dress.- Please). Multimedia Megillah, Purim feast, fun for the kids and more! Saturday night, March 3, 8pm!
  • Feb. 20 - Winter Mommy & Me: Moms will be having a morning out together with their own American Idol where they will express themselves through art and great conversation at the winter session of Chabad of Uptown's third Mommy & Me. RSVP or pass on the word!
  • Parsha Classes: Join part 2 of the Exodus/Birth Parsha series! It is never too late as every class is a stand alone journey through the Talmudic and kabalistic depth of a selected theme/topic of that week's parsha. Tues. Lunch 12-1:15pm. Thurs. 8-9 pm.
  • Taglit-birthright israel: Mayanot Recruiting - Registration opens soon! No longer eligible for a free Israel trip through Birthright Israel? Well, you can still get in on the excitement. Apply to be a Mayanot Birthright recruiter, sign up your friends for the trip, and you can find yourself staffing this summer's trip. Of course, if you are eligible, this is an opportunity you'd have to be crazy to miss. 10 days in Israel doing everything you could possibly imagine. Jeeping in the Desert, white water rafting, floating in the Dead Sea, swimming in the Mediterranean, riding camels or donkeys, sleeping in a Bedouin tent, experiencing the awe of Jerusalem and the Western Wall, and so much more. And all for free. for info and to pre-register. Registration opens Feb. 15, and is expected to close in less than three weeks. This trip is a gift of Taglit-birthright israel.
  • Spring Break: Argentina. This Spring, join students from all over the country for an exciting and meaningful alternative spring break program. Help a community in need and explore a region you've never seen. See site for more!

In other news...

  • An amazing display of great weather, happy people and Jewish pride was present at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Chabad Lubavitch Center on Fondren. Mayor White, Hon Asher Yarden and the entire dais were exemplary in their presentation and support of the community and Chabad. It was also carried on Channels 2, 11, 13 & 26 news. See groundbreaking and construction photo galleries and you tube clips @
  • 2000 Rebbetzins. 2000. That is a lot of Rebbetzins. A lot of talking, opinions and great recipes. Chanie finally came back late Monday night (gone since Wednesday morning!) from an uplifting ands inspiring convention where she caught up with friends, family and learned the newest methods of Rebbetzining for adult, school, child, parent and baby classes and interaction. See news stories from: Jpost, Haaretz, NY Daily News
  • On Sunday, for some entertainment for the three kiddos left under my fatherly (hot dog or pizza for dinner) care. I took them to the Children's Museum. Conclusion: Mendel is a budding engineer.
  • NYC is always a story. Chanie shared a flight with her mother-in-law (that's my mother :)) and checked through security with the regular yadayada.Removal f the shoes, coats (it is unbearably freezing in NY), keys, unloading the baby (that's Levi), the car seat, the carriage and more stuff. Before they know it, security in running from all sides. They are surrounded. Interview. Searched. Interrogated. Cause: Mom thought I wiser to take her bag along, then risk not having it in Houston by checking it. Well, she forgot she packed some excellent bargain kitchen knives she found in the great NYC. Security captain said she will forgo the arrest as she can tell they are for cooking. Knives - they stayed in NY and were confiscated (I mean donated) for the security personnel's own kitchens. Peelers? - they were allowed to continue their harrowing voyage to Houston... (What? - You think they appreciate jetblue leather seats when all they can do is look down from the overhead storage bins?)

From our mailbox...

  • Rabbi Chaim, I would like to Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your help and support that you gave me and my family during this difficult time.  Everything you do makes a huge impact on people, their mind and souls. Thank you again, V.K.
  • Hi Rabbi - [...] Many of [...'s] teachers told me that while at the beginning of the school year his behavior and commitment were worrisome, they all agreed that since September/October he has shown a 180 degree turnaround. He now has an A average, and contributes to and behaves maturely in, all of his classes. [My wife] immediately realized that it was at about the time the teachers mentioned (Sept/Oct) that we began to bring him to your class. So we offer our heartfelt thanks to you, for affecting this change and, of course, to Hashem for blessing us by leading us to you. J.K
  • Dear Rabbi Chaim and Chanie, On Friday night we had a traditional meal, ate on our china with a nice table cloth that has been tucked away for quite awhile.  With our new benchers we sang "My Zaidie"  too.  Not knowing any other Shabbos songs, and at the kids request we had many encores.  As we talked and laughed we appreciated our friends, "the Lazaroffs."  Thank you for inspiring us. The S. Family

Rabbi Chaim

YISRO: The Ten Commandments. No, I’m not thinking of the movie

The Ten Commandments. No, I’m not thinking of the movie with Charlton Heston, I'm talking of the greatest moment in history. A fledgling Jewish nation standing at the foot of Mount Sinai, and as the entire creation looks on in silent awe, G-d gives them their mission, their purpose: The Torah.

There is one aspect in this story that is sometimes overlooked. When G-d tells Moses to relay these teachings to the Jews, he tells him to speak to the women first.

The spiritual and delicate quality of femininity is such an important factor in the Jewish mission in the world, that the women needed to be informed first of the upcoming giving of the Torah. And they are first in line in assuring that we stay this course throughout the generations.

The Rebbe, of righteous memory, revolutionized the face of American Jewry by sending out Shluchim, emissaries, to impart their Judaism with love. The Rebbe commissioned the women to be at the forefront of this transformation, utilizing their special qualities to fulfill this mission.

My wife, Chanie is away this weekend, along with the other Shluchos of Houston, not for a well-deserved vacation, but for a conference in Brooklyn. The convention brings together Jewish women, leaders and representatives from communities worldwide to gather ideas, advice, and inspiration to... educate more Jewish leaders!

The conference coincides with the auspicious day of the Yartzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushkah, o.b.m. wife of the Rebbe, on the 22nd day of Shevat.

Good Shabbos!

Rabbi Chaim Editor


Super Bowl XLI. By now you probably have the snacks, the drinks, maybe the decorations, or whatever else you may need for a good super bowl party. And yes I know not to call you on Sunday afternoon, even if it's very important.
So, is it all about what you bring TO the super bowl, or can you TAKE something as well?
Well, here is something to think about during kickoff: Each of the players comes to the game extremely well trained, well prepared; can catch, can run, and can touch down. Yet, as able as they may be, they cannot play the game on their own; only working together with their whole team, can they each score a victory.
Each and every one of us is a "player" on the field. Each mitzvah is a touchdown; every good deed a goal. However, we need each other to work as a team to score. Let us be there for one another, let us strive for love, peace, and unity.
A way you can express this unity is to join us at any of our six Shabbatons around town for One Shabbat One, World culminating with a Melava Malka with Rabbi Eli Silberstein of Ithaca, NY! 
For your pre-game preparations, join us for some unity at the Chabad Lubavitch Center groundbreaking with Mayor Bill White, Israeli Consul General of Israel Asher Yarden and more!
Shabbat Shalom and lots of fun on Sunday,
Rabbi Chaim Editor
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