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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!

Spock wants you to support Chabad ...really!

See Spock here:

spock.jpgThis is linked from the Chabad Telethon in California which is really another planet :) But the message is the same; please support the work we do!

Many of you have responded to our end of the year campaign - to this we say thank you! We have another 24 hours until the end of the calendar year. We would love even more people to donate to help us accomplish our $20,000 goal. Visit to donate with our secure form. We are counting on you! Thank You!

Mystical Teaching Alert!

It is not just Spock or even the other "stars" that support the work Chabad does. All of the cosmos from the beginning of time have been waiting for us to fulfill our mission here in Uptown Houston. Help the universe reach its destiny. No Joke

King David said "The footsteps of man are directed by G-d." The first Chabad Rebbe taught that this means "When a Jew comes to a particular place it is for an inner Divine intent and purpose - to perform a mitzvah, whether a mitzvah between man and G-d or a mitzvah between man and his fellow-man. A Jew is G-d's messenger.

One more teaching: When you come to where you are there is something specific you need to purify and improve in THIS place. For centuries, or even since the world's creation, that which needs purification or improvement waits for you to come and purify or improve it. Your soul has been waiting - ever since it came into being- for its time to descend, so that it can discharge the tasks of purification and improvement assigned to it.

Ok that blows my mind...but here we are in Uptown for a reason.

Please help us in this divine task!

Live long and prosper! Or better yet the real blessing of the Kohanim

'May G-d shine His countenance upon you and be gracious to you.

'May G-d turn His countenance toward you and grant you peace.'" (Numbers 6:24-26)

As we mentioned last week, RC & Mendel went for a special trip to NYC for his birthday. 

Oh, and what a trip it was. When we heard on Sat. night that our Mon. morning flight was cancelled because of the impending blizzard, we went to the airport on Sunday morning at 4 am to confirm the first seat out available after the storm and to try to get on a Sunday flight on standby. Well, long story short after missing six flights, exploring the whole airport and arcade, being interviewed by the NY Post (who aged me by five years) we left 11 hours later at 3 pm back to Brooklyn. The streets were already slippery, taxis were hard to come by and we shared a cabbie with three others headed towards Brooklyn. Cabbie tried to rip us off. We trudged through the snow.

Get home and check online and our itinerary is not updated. I can't get through to the airline, but, Baruch Hashem for twitter I found the back door by various posters to get through via Continental's mobile site "click to talk" feature that calls you back. "Oops, we cancelled your reservation"! Why? I don't know sir. Next flight is Friday. Friday? Yes, Friday. No. Yes. No. Yes. I want a flight out. Sorry. Please. No. Ok, come on there has got to be a way to route through a different city? Ok, we got you through Chicago on Wed. morning...

  snow mountain.jpgWell we spend the next two days in Snowball fights, snow tunnels and paths, helping get cars unstuck, sledding down mountains of snow and trudging all the while through Mayor Bloomberg's unplowed streets. Oh yeah, and trying to learn how to play the new recorder that Mendel bought with his Chanukah gelt. news also writes a story.

Tuesday night we try to check in, walla! My flight? From NYC. Mendel's? Leaves from Chicago! What?! While holding for 63 minutes, I seriously consider renting a one way car to Texas and driving home. (Amtrack and Greyhound are sold out). Sorry sir there is a glitch in the system. We don't know why it does not have Mendel's itinerary, but, he is on that flight. Just go to the airport.

Now, to find a cab. No car services are operating. Those who are - have two cars. They are are all snowed in. Calling 20 car services, find one private guy willing to do the ride for $120.

Yes, one hundred twenty dollars.

Finally find a guy willing to go for $50 - splitting the ride with someone else headed to LGA at 3 am. Get there before the computers (let alone the ticket counter) even opens. Stand in line at 3:30 am with HUNDREDS of people. The screen at security shows all flight cancelled. I pray that it was yesterday's board. I was thankfully right. Get on the plane to Chicago with no boarding pass to Houston in hand. Run, RUN though O'hare to get the next flight, get a boarding pass at the gate before our seats were almost given away to standbys and land at home on Wednesday afternoon just in time to give my Young Professionals class on Wed. night.

Mendel had a great trip. Me? OK, I did too. Some pics of our adventures on my mobile phone upload gallery here.

Many interesting classes are coming up

  • JLI Teens - Sunday
  • Hebrew - Monday
  • JLI Flagship - Tuesday 
  • Young Professionals - Wednesday
  • Tanya - Thursday Lunch Hour
  • Parsha - Thursday evening
  • Torah Ohr - Shabbos morning
  • Read last week's post for all the details at

Please join us as we complete the calendar year and bless the new Jewish month of Shevat!

Shabbos Mevarchim Parshas Bo 
Friday, December 31
Services at 6:30 pm
    Candle Lighting at 5:15 pm | RSVP for special dinner! 

Shabbos, January 1
Shabbos Mevarchim Tehillim at 8:30 am
Services at 10:00 am
    Followed by kiddush
Mincha at 5:20 pm
Maariv, Havdalla and Shabbos Ends at  6:12 pm
Screening of Living Torah

Looking forward to seeing you Shabbos and may you have a fantastic weekend,

Rabbi Chaim & Chanie 


Shabbos w/ Chinese and new class schedule

Dear Friends,

As school winds down, and "out of office" auto replies become commonplace it is obvious that the 2010 calendar year is winding down.

This week you should have gotten our preinvitation solicitation for the Fifth Anniversary Gala for Chabad of Uptown. Don't forget to reply before Dec. 31 to take advantage of the 2010 tax credit! If you did not get it in the mail, we don't have your (correct) mailing address. Please send it to us, so we can update our records!

Mendel's trip to Arizona camp was cancelled. We found out last minute that there are cats roaming the grounds and the campers play with them in the morning.... As compensation for his very strong disappointment he will be travelling with his father for a weekend in NY celebrating his birthday on 17 Teves with a visit to the Ohel!

Mazel Tov to:

  • Sarcalem & Hon. Belaynesh Zevadia Adigeh upon the bris of the twins this past Sunday, Itai and Yuval! May they grow to be a source of nachas to all of Israel! 
  • Dr. Henry & Dr. Maxine Epstein upon the engagement of their son, Adam to Clara Chaya Ulitsky of Toronto! May it be an eternal home founded on Torah & Mitzvos! 

By popular demand and with the new calendar year upon us we are happy to announce the following NEW class and topic schedule, stay tuned for more details:

  •  JLI Teens - "OMG! The Battle Between Faith and Logic" - Begins in February (Sunday schedule may change).
    Various logical approaches that will provide Teens with a solid intellectual foundation to the Jewish faith in G-d. More at
  • NEW: Mondays -Hebrew Crash Course with Matt Trusch - Begins Jan. 10, 8-9  pm.
  • Tuesdays - Jewish Learning Institute - "Towards a Meaningful Life: A Soul-Searching Journey for Every Jew". 7:30-9:00 pm By Rabbi Moishe Traxler of Chabad Outreach. Begins Feb. 8.
    Whether you are dealing with family relationships or job satisfaction, this course will help you look beyond a crisis to find the lessons within. Most important of all, these sessions will help you see life as the mysterious, challenging, and satisfying wonder that it really is.  More at
  • Wednesdays - Young Professionals contemporary classes - ongoing at 8:30-9:30 pm
    Classes and socials allow Jewish young  professional to meet, socialize and exchange intellectual ideas of their Jewishness. More at
  • NEW: Thursdays Lunch & Learn 12-1:15 pm - Tanya - A journey through the mystique of the soul, world and faith. Begins January 6. (JLI Torah Studies Parsha class - below - will continue at Lunch hour on Thursdays - Dec. 23 & 30 - until Tanya start date).
    The Tanya compacts four millennia of Jewish wisdom to answer the great personal and existential questions of life. It has revolutionized the way we think about G-d, the human soul, the world and our place in it. More at
  • Thursday evenings 8-9 pm - JLI  Torah Studies - Tools for Living, a weekly journey into the weekly Parsha of the Book of Shemos.
        How is the ancient Torah — given over 3,300 years ago — personally relevant to our lives today? Discover how the stories and challenges of our ancestors serve as paradigms for the issues and questions we face today — relationships, social justice, self improvement and more.
        Drawing from their journey and the Torah’s infinite wisdom, this course is designed by Rabbi Simon Jacobson, best selling author and director of the Meaningful Life Center, to impart practical tools for living in the real world. More at

This Shabbos,  the wonderful Trusches "from Shanghai" will lead Chabad of Uptown along with Chanie and the kids for another wonderful Shabbos experience on this Jewish Chinese weekend! :)

Shabbos Parshas Shemos

 Friday, December 24
Services at 6:30 pm
    Candle lighting at 5:10 pm | RSVP for Dinner

Shabbos, December 25
Preprayer Torah Study at 9:00 am
Shacharis at 10:00 am
    Followed by Kiddush
Mincha at 5:15 pm
Maariv, Havdalla and Shabbos Ends at 6:08 pm
Screening of Living Torah  

See ya Shabbos!

Rabbi Chaim & Chanie

Special Schedule this Shabbos - EARLY FRIDAY

Dear Friends,

Our fiscal year is drawing to a close and we are hard at work to bridge our $20,000 gap in our budget! Please help us with your generous contribition

The Journal Ad mailing for our Fifth Anniversary celebration on Feb. 27 will be in your mailbox this week... Respond before Dec. 31 to take a tax credit advantage for 2010!

This coming Friday is Tevet 10 and is observed as a day of fasting, mourning and repentance, in remembrance of the siege of Jerusalem. We refrain from food and drink from daybreak to nightfall, and add the Selichot and other special supplements to our prayers. (More recently, Tevet 10 was chosen to also serve as a "general kaddish day" for the victims of the Holocaust, many of whose day of martyrdom is unknown.)

Therefore, our Friday night Shabbos schedule will be little different to break our fast as early as possible.

Also, our new neighbor Josh Levy has yartzeit on Friday so we really need to esnure a minyan for Mincha and need to start on time so we finish Torah reading and mincha before Shabbos starts. Please come on time to ensure a smooth service.

Shabbos Parshas Veyechi

Friday, December 17 (Tevet 10 - Fast Day)
5:55 am Fast Begins 
    The fast begins upon going to sleep. To eat up until 5:55 am you either need to remain awake or you must, before going to sleep, make a verbal condition to yourself to eat and drink before the fast begins. As it is before Shacharit, only snacks are permitted - not a meal.
4:55 pm Mincha with Torah Reading - PLEASE BE ON TIME
    5:07 pm Candle Lighting
5:40 pm Kabbolas Shabbos
6:10 pm Shabbat Dinner | Please RSVP!
    5:57 pm Tzeit Hakochavim L'chumra (Fast Ends)
Shabbos, December 18
9:00 am Preprayer Kabbala Study
10:00 am Shacharis
    With best cholent this side of the Mississippi...
5:15 pm Mincha
6:04 pm Maariv, Havdalla & Shabbos Ends
    Screening of Living Torah

See you on Shabbos, and may Moshiach come so we can celebrate with Moshiach on Friday rather than fast!

Rabbi Chaim & Chanie

Chanukah Roundup and other stuff

Dear Friends,

After last week's programs of

  • the Uptown Flower Menorah
  • Car Menorah Parade
  • Sugar Land City Hall
  • and private reception with Governor Perry,

this week continued the Chanukah marathon with:

  • a beautiful Chanukah Shabbos dinner,
  • City Hall Menorah lighting on Sat night with Rep Al Green,
  • Sunday Hebrew School Chanukah program,
  • Chanukah on Ice at Discovery Green,
  • Monday nice quiet Chanukah eve with just the kids,
  • Tuesday Hoops & Hannukah at the Houston Rockets
  • and menorah lighting at Taps with Jews & Brews,
  • Wednesday final night Latkes & Lchaim and the Eighth Night of Heineken.

See pics on and my photos as posted on Facebook from my mobile phone as we wandered the city by clicking here.

You can visit that carries links to media coverage, videos and links covering the Chanukah events of last week. Gov. Perry also covered by News here

Mazel Tov to Phyllis & Emet Bargrasser upon the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Rebecca. May she be a source of nachas to her family and all of Bnei Yisroel!

This upcoming Sunday celebrates a unique in the Chabad calendar - the fifth of Teves. You can read more about it here.

Next Friday (Dec 17) will be the tenth of Teves - the only fast day that is kept on it day (and not rescheduled) even though it falls on Friday. Mincha and Maariv next Shabbos will therefore be at sunset so we can make kiddush and break our fast as soon as possible. Watch out next week for complete email. More the Asara BTevet here

Please join us this Shabbos Parshas Vayigash!

Friday, December 10
Services at 6:30 pm
    Candle Lighting at 5:05 pm | Please RSVP for dinner

Shabbos, December 11
Preprayer Kabbala Study at 9:00 am
Services at 10:00 am
    Followed by Kiddush
Mincha at 5:15 pm
Maariv, Havdalla & Shabbos Ends at 6:02 pm
Living Torah Screening

See you on Shabbos!

Rabbi Chaim & Chanie 

The Lights Shine Bright

Dear Friends,

Where to begin?!

We celebrated Levi's fourth birthday this past Monday. He is very proud of being a big boy...

Chanukah is off to amazing start with good times had by all! Our Six Foot flower menorah last night, Flower Menorah.jpgWednesday night, was a big hit! A big thank  you to Ben Shamoolian of Houston Flowery for putting together the beautiful masterpiece! Photos of the event are on the website at The event was covered by Channel 39 and the Houston Chronicle (if you got recordings or clippings, please share :))... Thank you to our partial event sponsors, Omri Shafran of Optimum Investments and Sarcalem & Belaynesh Zevadia Adigeh in honor of their recent birth of twins boys.

The annual Chanukah menorah parade rolled last night as well from Southwest Houston joining us for the end of the party at Chabad of Uptown while Chabad of Sugar Land lit the menorah in front of Sugar Land City Hall! Read and watch the newscasts about them on Channel 11 and Houston Chronicle...

The Houston Chronicle also had another interesting piece on public menorah lightings.... 

Today I donned my "Chabad Lubavitch of Texas" hat as the program director and joined Rabbi Shimon Lazaroff, the Director for Chabad Lubavitch of Texas for a private Chanukah ceremony with Gov. Rick Perry at the Texas State Capitol.

Rabbi Levertov of Chabad of Austin and Rabbi Zev Johnson of Chabad at UT joined as well. Rabbi Shimon Lazaroff congratulated Gov. Perry on his reelection and shared the message of Chanukah with the Governor. "The United States allows freedom of religion and not freedom from religion. Chanukah delivers the message of religious freedom, where the few believers won over the many oppressors." Gov. Perry thanked him for his kind words, and expresses his appreciation to have the opportunity to partake in the ceremony to be shared publicly. Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff, of Texas A&M led the prayers and presented Gov. Perry a signature Chabad at Texas A&M buckle. Gov. Perry, an Aggie, took the buckle with great enthusiasm and tweeted a picture of it from his cell phone... :)

The office released their own Press Release and video of the event that can be seen (as of now) on the home page of (Click "Read More" for the entire press release and video) and on their social media feeds and

Tonight Chabad of Pearland had their menorah lighting with the participation of the Pearland Mayor at the Pearland Towne Center.

Tomorrow please join us at  our Chanukah Shabbat Dinner sponsored in part by Dr. Louis and Sheila Train in memory of Sheila's father Harry Chaim ben Yaakov Fritman, a"h. RSVP - PLEASE...

Many more events are planned including, Houston City Hall (Sat.) Chanukah at Discovery Green (Sun.) and Hoops & Hanukkah at the Houston Rockets on Tuesday! Many more opportunities available as well at Chabad TMC (Sat.), Chabad West on Wheels ( Mon) and the Olive Press (tomorrow - Fri) at the Children's Museum. All can be seen at

The last day of Chanukah will be celebrated at Chabad of Uptown with a special Chanukah session  for Mommy & Me. Please register on the website....

Please join us this Shabbos for services and more!

Shabbos Chanukah & Mevarchim Parshas  Mikeitz
Friday, Dec. 3
6:30 pm Services
    Light Chanukah THEN Shabbos candles before 5:04 pm 
Please RSVP for dinner

Shabbos, Dec. 4
8:30 am Shabbos Mevarchim Tehillim
10:00 am Services
    Traditional Kiddush with the best.... and Shabbos Mevarchim and Chanukah Farbrengen
5:10 pm Mincha
6:01 pm Maariv, Havdalla and Shabbos Ends
    Screening of Living Torah

See you on Shabbos and a very Happy Chanukah from our family to yours,

Rabbi Chaim, Chanie and Clan. 

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