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

December Dilemma

 
Dear Chaim & Chanie,

Each year at this time a dilemma arises. A different dilemma though then you might be thinking about. This dilemma is about how to distribute the dollars that have been allocated for Tzedakah (charity) before the year is out. The reason this often takes place in December is because the IRS allows contributions made before December 31st to be considered for a deduction against your taxes for that year.

This year unfortunately many people are not experiencing this dilemma. The current state of the economy has hurt many peoples savings, their jobs, and sadly our positive upbeat American and Jewish state of mind.
 
It is my prayer that if you are one of those that have been hurt by the current economy that things turn around for you in the coming year. It is my fervent wish that the worst is over and that we can only share good news moving forward.
 
If you are among the fortunate ones that the December Dilemma still applies to you, I hope you'll consider Chabad of Uptown in your year end contributions.
 
You see, Chabad of Uptown is ever more important in these troubled times. In times of challenge people look towards us and other similarly important organizations for moral support even more perhaps then when things are good. People look for hope! They hope to see that although the major "pillars" of our economic stability may crumble, the organizations dedicated to Torah, G-D and the Jewish people, the "other" Pillars stand strong and thrive.
 
We have been responsibe, cutting our expenses and being extremely watchful of every dollar spent. Chabad has always been known for stretching a dollar and we are now stretching that same dollar to new tensions. We still need you! We are still struggling to pay our bills, but, there are still a few hours left to the end of the year. You can help!

Please click here and make a year end donation. Help us with stability in the New Year by clicking here and joining our monthly donor club by checking off the "recurring donation" check box.

Chabad can accept, Cash, Credit Card, Check, Stock Transfer, as well as donations of automobiles, boats or real estate.
 
My prayers for all of us for a New Year of financial stability as well health and nachas!
 
G-D bless you!
 
Rabbi Chaim & Chanie

ABC Channel 13 Coverage of Can Menorah

Click for complete story

Last night Menorahs were on parade in uptown Houston. The parade was part of a joint event between Chabad of Uptown and the Houston Food Bank. The Menorah made from cans was ceremonially lit as part of an event to get kosher canned food donations. Hanukah ends tonight at sunset.

The Chronicle's Coverage!

With our very own Bob Epstein! Click on icon for a larger image.

Yes we CAN! - The Speech

What a great time as over 200 Uptownians celebrated Chanukah!

After many requests, here is the speech:

Our theme tonight is the Can-orah - a menorah made from cans of food. And when we’re done with the CAN-dle lighting, the CANS will be given to the needy, mostly to the Houston food bank. In this way we will literally enact the message of Chanukah, for the spiritual will triumph over the material - the light of holiness and goodness that we kindle tonight will become physical - the very real mitzvah of feeding the hungry.

But the idea of the CAN-menorah - the CAN-orah is more than just a clever play on words. Because the word CAN itself refers to more than just a container - a passive, inactive receptacle. In that sense, of course, the CAN does nothing. Whatever significance or value it has comes from what WE put into it - and how WE transfer it.

But the word CAN is also a verb, a word of action.

I am sure you have noticed that we have borrowed from a recent theme - a theme we’ve heard these many months.

Yes, we CAN

Yes, we CAN - in both senses of the word. We CAN - the menorah, the food we will be giving the hungry.

But, more Yes we CAN is the message of Chanukah.

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts” – the message of Chanukah - that a little light pushes away great darkness, that the few CAN conquer the many, that ultimately goodness and righteousness will triumph - “tonight is your answer.”

To the extent our efforts tonight bring us a step closer to a world of goodness, a civilized world, a world “filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the water covers the ocean bed” - to the extent we are victorious over the forces of darkness and intolerance and prejudice - to that extent we are indebted to you. This menorah - this physical embodiment of “hope and change” was built by you, by your donation, your dedication, your devotion.

The victory - this victory, which is, in a way, a reliving of the victory of the Maccabbees, is your victory. It is the victory we must achieve each Chanukah, until the final victory when the Menorah will shine from the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem.

Yes, we CAN.

It’s a theme we CAN adopt, whatever our politics, philosophy or religious orientation. Because it’s not a new phrase, a new idea - there’s nothing new under the sun, after all. But the very timelessness of Yes, we CAN makes it more timely than ever.

Yes, we CAN: the message of Chanukah in times of adversity. When the Syrian Greeks wanted to destroy Judaism, to force us to abandon Torah and G-d, when the world said, give up, you’re fighting the mightiest army in the world, No, you can’t - the Maccabbees stood up and declared, Yes, we can. And they rallied the Jewish people, rededicated the Temple and earned, for themselves and subsequent generations, a miracle, a miracle of Yes, we CAN.

In times of pain, when illness, G-d forbid, seems to overwhelm us - physically, emotionally, spiritually. When treatments may be as painful as the diseases, and the questions and doubts and loneliness and fears even more painful - when despair and surrender, when quitting and hopelessness and disbelief seem the only choice, we look to the miracle of lights, we know there is, there must be hope, and we resolve to fight for life, for health because Yes we CAN - and we believe, in the deepest fiber of our beings, that the G-d who heals can heal - Yes HE Can.

Yes we can!

When the terrorists strike, when murderers mask their evil with the platitudes and turn religious truth into falsehood, when innocents are murdered, as they were in Mumbai - because they were innocent because they were living examples of goodness and kindness and righteousness and holiness - when this real,  mindless evil says, you can not live, you can not thrive, you can not exist - we, Jews and non-Jews, all people who recognize G-d as the Father of us all - we rise up and say, Yes, we CAN live, yes, we CAN thrive, yes we CAN and yes we WILL exist. Yes, we can.

When Depression becomes more than mental, becomes real and financial, when thousands and hundreds of thousands become desperate to save their home, to put food on their table, to find work. When thieves and gonaffs betray the public trust and tell us there’s nothing we can do about it, that you can’t give tzedekah because the economy is in ruins, that you can’t help someone else find work because you won’t have a job - we defy the doomsayers and say Yes, we CAN live through hard economic times with our dignity intact, our humanity operative. Yes we CAN give tzedekah - even more, because more is needed. Yes we CAN!

When people say feeding the homeless is hopeless, that there’s no use in building a community, in taking responsibility for the community, tonight, you, here, know the answer. Can we build the community? YES WE CAN! Can we take responsibility, alleviate the suffering and the hunger? Yes, we can.

When the Arabs and their sycophants around the world tell Israel it can’t defend itself, we stand with Israel as it declares, Yes We CAN. When these haters and manipulators and murderers say you can’t stop us from shooting rockets into old age homes and blowing up children, we stand on the border with the IDF and shout Yes We CAN! And when they cry eternal hatred and destruction of Israel and that there will never be peace, we say there will be peace, a true and just peace, because Yes WE CAN - and YES G-D CAN.

Finally, let me borrow - and transform - another phrase popularized over recent months - Change - change we can believe in. Well, yes, we can believe in change, because everything changes - the seasons, the issues, the ballplayers - everything changes, so we can believe in change.

But there’s one change that we can REALLY believe in, because it’s the ultimate, the real, the true, the final change. And that’s the change that will come with Moshiach, the change that will transform the world, the change that will actualize the message of Chanukah - when light will completely and totally push away the darkness. In the era of Redemption, we will see real change, as the prophet declares: nation will not lift up sword against nation. Moshiach will usher in not just change, but a transformation, when there will be no war, no greed, no hunger, when the world will be filled with knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the ocean.

And do you know who will usher in that change? Who will bring Moshiach? You - all of us - because when it comes to the real change, the change we can really believe in - it’s up to us to complete the task. And if anyone asks, we know the answer - YES WE CAN!

chanukah finale at Uptown - THIS WEEKEND

Dear Friends,

What an amazing few weeks!

Have you watched our crazy video yet? www.chabadtexas.org/yeswecan.

  • We hope you will join us this Sunday AND BRING THOSE CANS to the Chabad of Uptown CANorah (can menorah) project at 5:30 pm!
  • Listen to Rabbi Chaim speak about Chanukah, the Chanukah Parade and the Can Menorah project on 740 KTRH on Friday at 6:20 am with Roger Hudson.

Torah Study this week, lunch only

  • There will only by a Thursday lunch class this week (12-1:15pm), when you have no office excuse to miss :). This week's lunch is from Sub on the way. Please reply if you would like to join with your food selection by 10:00 am.
    We will not have an evening class. Please join me and Chanie at Chabad of West Houston's chanukah celebration and opening of their new location on Westheimer & Eldridge.

    This week's class: Mikeitz: Teshuvah and the Freedom to Choose
    Everyone says that we should “just do the next right thing,” but we all know just how difficult that can be. While we’re aware of the difference between right and wrong, there are so many factors in our environments, our personalities and our natural instincts that are pushing us to put off doing the next right thing, and sometimes pulling us to do some very wrong things that are truly harmful to ourselves or to others. These forces can be so very powerful that it is only fair to ask: “Do I always have the choice to be good?” How much free choice do we really have? Moreover, since it is only human for us to justify our behavior, how much free choice do we have to correct our behavior when all we usually want to do is make excuses for ourselves? In this week’s lesson we will study an interaction between Reuven and his brothers, and in doing so explore the key relationship between teshuvah and free choice. As a result, we will see just how far we can go to make things right with others and within ourselves.

Please join us for a great Chanukah Shabbat at Chabad of Uptown. RSVP here.

  • Friday, Dec. 26 at 6:30 pm Services, followed by Shabbat dinner at 7:30 pm. (Candle lighting at 5:12 pm)
  • Shabbos, Dec. 27 at 10:00 am, Shacharis followed by lunch kiddush.
  • 5:15 pm - Mincha followed by Torah Study
  • 6:10 pm - Maariv, Menorah Kindling & Havdalla Service

Other upcoming events

The trip to NYC was amazing.

  • The kids got to hang with bubby and zaidy, go to the world's only Jewish Children's Museum, the newly renovated Brooklyn Children's Museum, two weddings for Rabbi Chaim's niece and sister, shop on Kingston Ave, sample multiple resturaunts and Pizza shops and of course visit the Ohel. Chanie and I got together with two of the Mayanot-birthright alumni for a dinner one night. We stopped in Philly for some food on the way home, and I do not remember what else to babble on about. For more info, come to Shabbat or of the events above!

We hope to see you real soon and have a Happy Chanukah!

Rabbi Chaim & Chanie

CHANUKAH - A time live AND give!

Dear Friends,

Chanukah is always beautiful and a wonderful time to spend with friends, family and community. We hope you will join Chabad of Houston at the many offered Chanukah events, including Chanukah on Ice at The Galleriaand Hoops on Chanukah at the Houston Rockets!

YES WE "CAN"! - Chanukah is a time of sharing, so this year don't only enjoy, you can give to others as well, by donating can of food for the needy to be used to construct the "CANorah" at Chabad of Uptown!

See the complete event listing here.

Enjoy our www.ChabadTexas.org/Chanukah portal; many links below!

Rabbi Chaim
ChabadTexas.org

nyc trip - uptown open! & other news....

  • As I mentioned we are taking the family to NY for the wedding of Rabbi Chaim's sister and neice, but Chabad of Uptown will remain open! Benjamin Shlyopabersky and his wife Rivky will lead next week's Shabbaton Dec. 12-13, please join them! Services Friday night will be as always at 6:30 pm followed by a dinner - RSVP! Shabbat day at 10 am followed by lunch kiddush.
  • Thursday's evening class will also be on schedule with Rabbi Dovid Goldstein. There will not be a lunch class. Lunch goers: please join the evening one. :)
  • We are also in need of cans for our CAN menorah building! How many cans of yours will feed the hungry?

In other news....

The memorial service drew over 400 people from all segments of the community.

  • Jewish Herald Voice Memorial Report
  • Address by Rebbetzin Lazaroff at Memorial
  • Statement by Israeli Consul General Asher Yarden
  • Sympathy Letter from Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
  • Complete ChabadTexas.org Mumbai Portal
  • Rabbi Chaim on Channel 13
  • Chanie on Channel 11
  • Into the heart of the d-anger in Mumbai

    The shock, pain and anguish of the last seven days have been the hardest for many of us to to deal with for a very long time....

    While we still struggle to come to terms with the tragedy that struck at the heart of our people and all decent human beings, our thoughts and prayers are with the families in mourning as we mourn with them and pray that they find comfort in the outpouring of love and unity that the loss of their loved ones brought about.

    "Love means Love" is a fascinating video documentary about the victims killed in the attack on the Chabad House in Mumbai which reflects some of the impact their sacrifice has already had...

    But there is still hope...as Shimon Peres said at the funeral, Moishele is our mourning but Moishele is also our comfort.

    While you won't often find me sending you links to CNN.com, with the flood of painful searing images that have flooded our media, I can't resist sharing this clip with you;

    Firstly, to see that precious child, "the child of the Jewish People" laughing and playing - it's something we all need to see.

    But then there's Sandra "the heroine of the People." In times like these, survival instincts tell you to run for cover, to protection, to safety...but she did otherwise - and saved a life forever.

    In times like these, our instincts tell us to run, to cry, to grieve. But let's learn from Sandra, let's do otherwise and change a life forever.

    Rabbi Chaim

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