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

VAYAK'HEL PEKUDEI: Make Shabbos holier!

Among various matters concerning the Sanctuary in the desert, our Torah portion discusses the observance of Shabbat.

As part of this discussion, we find the verse: "And the Children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant." From the first part of the verse it seems that in essence Shabbat is intrinsically a holy day, and the verse states that the Jewish people shall keep it holy. Regardless of whether or not it is observed, it remains sanctified and separate from the rest of the week.

This would seem to leave little for us to do concerning Shabbat. If it is already holy, does it really matter if we observe it? In answer to this question we have the second part of our verse, "observing the Sabbath...." Through our observance of Shabbat - by lighting Shabbat candles, making kiddush, partaking of a Shabbat meal and resting (from creative work) - we actually enhance Shabbat.

Each one of us has the ability and opportunity to "do our part" to sanctify the Sabbath. With each Shabbat mitzva we observe, we bring an added holiness into this holy day.

It is not often that we have the opportunity to perform mitzvot whose benefit or purpose we can actually see. However, when it comes to lighting Shabbat candles, part of the commandment to "observe the Sabbath," we see the light the candles bring into our home. In addition to their physical light, the candles also bring with them a spiritual light, warmth and peace, which permeate the home and family.

Visit our dedicated Shabbat section on our website for manuals, multimedia and insights at To get your own free starter kit visit

Wishing you a good Shabbos,

Rabbi Chaim Editor

Adapted from Lchaim Weekly

Clock change to 7:30 pm & Vote for US!!!

Uptown Stuff… 

  • CLOCK CHANGE: Shabbos from now on (through the summer) will be held in Uptown on Friday night at 7:30 pm and Shabbos morning at 10am. Candle lighting this week at: 7:12 pm
  • New Parsha Series course by JLI - Want to get intimate with the infinite?
    Join us for "Bonding" - A seven week series on the Book of Leviticus.
    You thought Leviticus was an ancient priestly code. Well it is - most of it. But hidden within the esoteric are keys for any human being to bond with the most transcendental spiritual force there is - and to bring that force down into practical, earthly life.
    Check your mailboxes for the postcard! Two offerings in Uptown - Begins Tues., March 20 Lunch at 12-1:15pm; Thurs., March 22 at 8-9pm
  • Mommy & Me winter session carries on. Spring and summer session dates have been set. Watch a great video here!
  • Pesach - Chabad of Uptown will be closed - sorry! / We will be open for business the Shabbos immediately before and after.
  • American "Idle" Purim was an amazing success! Over 70 people competed and enjoyed a multimedia megilla and purim feast. See pics here and great video here! 

Around the Pesach town... 

Summer experiences for all ages…


  • National Jewish Retreat in Colorado - Nothing of this scope has ever been done before. A faculty of world-class scholars and speakers will provide a wealth of program choices including lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials, discussion groups, and crash courses in Jewish living skills. Jewish arts and culture, Torah, Midrash, Talmud, history, mysticism and philosophy will all be represented. In addition, there will also be ample opportunity to explore the scenic natural setting of the Colorado Rockies and engage in recreational activities such as hiking and boating. Visit
  • Gan Israel Day Camp registration has been open for a while. If you have not registered yet, now is the time. Visit
  • Gan Israel - South Padres Island - Once again there will be an overnight camping experience for boys and (new for this year) for girls ages 9-14 (Grades 2-8). Visit
  • $399* learning trip to Israel with Chabad on Campus - (in addition to Birthright) Spend three weeks in Israel with your peers for a comprehensive Israel experience.  Join with us as we dig beneath the surface and tackle the tough questions about our Heritage, our People, and our Land.  Prepare to use all your senses as we explore and learn.  Let Israel become your classroom. Visit  

In other news… 

  • You have GOT to vote for us!!! At American "Idle" we
    dressed up as The Seuss Family! Vote for us in this worldwide contest!!!! Vote for all local contestants!
  • We took the kids to Hermann Park. Wow, it seemed that the whole Houston decided to spend spring break there (park, zoo museums). Every approach was either closed or bumper to bumper traffic. But, it was worth the wait! We fed the ducks & pigeons some yummy Shabbos challah and went paddle boating!
  • Family fun over time
    Double Mazal tov! Rabbi Chaim's brother Peretz (he works at the Jewish Children's Museum - if you ever go to NYC, you have to see this!) and his wife, Chevie of Brooklyn, NY had baby boy! They will be here for Pesach coinciding with the Pidyon Haben!
    AND… Chanie's sister Nechama Dina and Sholom Ber Hendel also had a boy! (they will probably not be here Pesach, nunu…
  • As I mentioned Chanie's fam are coming for Pesach. But, even more exciting, they will be joining us in uptown on the Shabbos of March 30-31!
  • Chanie is busy cleaning the house for Pesach (or is it spring cleaning???!!!). It is always a job! 

See you Shabbos!


Rabbi Chaim & Chanie

KI TISA: Can one become a celebrity?

We live in a world dominated by fame. It’s like one big contest who can get more attention. Do whatever it takes to become a celebrity 

What about us simple people, the ones not pursued by the paparazzi; are we smaller? Are we less important 

This week’s Torah portion begins with the commandment to take a census of the Jewish People. The manner in which this was done was that each Jew was to contribute half a shekel to the coffers of the Holy Temple. The halves were counted for the census, and then used towards the daily offerings.  

The verse continues, “The rich shall not increase, nor shall the poor decrease.” It must be exactly half a Shekel.  

This teaches us an important lesson. We must see the equality of all the people amongst us, though we were each created uniquely, we are all created in G- d’s image, and this connects us all, rich or poor, strong or weak.  

But why a half-shekel, what’s wrong with a full Shekel? There is yet another important lesson that we can derive. When counting ourselves, when judging who we are, we must realize that we are incomplete. As much as we have accomplished in our life, if we are on our own, we are lacking. Only when we are in unity are we truly complete 

So, there is no one bigger or smaller than us. We all come from the same mint. This thought should bring us together and unite us.  

Shabbat Shalom,

 Rabbi Chaim Editor

P.S. This Purim we dressed up as the Dr. Seuss Family as part of Uptown’s American Idol Purim (pics & YouTube Video). We were Mom & Dad and the kids were Good Things 1, 2, 3 & 4.
Vote for us and add your own picture to enter the contest!

Dr. Suess Family

Vote for us the contest!!! Click on this link!

Also check out:

Uptown American “Idle” Purim Gallery

Uptown Purim Video

Chabad Hebrew School Purim Gallery

The Uptown Shul - By Becki Kasoff

To the tune of Billy Joel "Uptown Girl", Beck Kasoff wrote this song as part of the Uptown American "Idle" Purim competition.

Uptown Shul
We’ve been living in a non-frum world
We bet you never met a cool rabbi
And Shabbatons here only cost a chai

We’re gonna daven at the uptown shul
We’ve been living in a white bread world
As long as anyone with Jewish blood can
And now we’re looking for some Challah, man
That's what I am

And when we know what
We want from our shul
And when we wake up
And make up our mind

You'll see this shul is cool
That is WHY
We’re in love with an uptown shul

You know we've seen her in her uptown shul
Her Shabbatons always bring us joys
She does all this with 4 girls and boys
She's got such poise.

Uptown Shul
You know we can't afford to buy her rooms
But maybe someday when our ship comes in
She'll understand what kind of Jews we’ve been
And then we’ll grin!

And when he picks up the book to bench

And when he sings
You’ll  say that he's such a mench.

We’re no fools
Just because
We’re in love
With an uptown shul!

American "Idle" Purim

Enjoy and comment on the vid!

My car / His car :(

My car:

His car:

Now tell me is this fair?!

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