What's Going On - January 2010 Print


December was busy for CCCRS.  Yael Twito spent the morning of December 6 telling our young people about Camp Young Judea in Wimberly, Texas.  Several of our students have been campers there and shared their great experiences.  A Leadership Seminar is being held Jan. 29th-31st, for 11th & 12th graders thinking about working at the camp.   Open House days for parents thinking of sending their children to camp are Sunday, January 31st and Sunday, March 14th.  For camp dates and more information, visit This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call (713) 728-5061.  

Stefani Rozen will visit us on Sunday, January 31st, to talk about Greene Family Camp.

Lena Wise, Education Fellow from the Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, MS, visited us December 11-13.  She told the story of Hanukkah to our congregants at the Shabbat Family Service.  On Sunday, she led our young people in Hanukkah Maccabeus Games.  We also made edible driedels.  A big thank-you to our judges for the games – Norma Levens, Julia Noble, and Meredith Ryan.  Look for pictures in this bulletin.  Lena was the house guest of Sam, Catherine, Sophie, Sammy, and Eli Susser.  Thanks to the Susser family for opening their home to Lena.  (She will be visiting us again April 16-18, 2010.  Let me know if your family would like to host her.)     

Hebrew School will resume on Thursday, January 7th.  Remember to call the CBI office if your child will not be in attendance on Thursdays.  Sunday sessions will resume on January 10th.


What a wonderful month December was.  The Shabbat dinner was a huge success.  We had to pull out extra tables and chairs to seat all of our guests.  I would like to extend a huge thank you to all of the people who were so gracious and lent a hand that night.  The camaraderie that is displayed at these events really goes to show how much value there is when people have the opportunity to connect and socialize with one another.  Please join us for our next Shabbat dinner on January 29th.  We look forward to seeing you!


Meredith Ryan


    On Sunday mornings, January 24 and 31, the Adult Education Committee will sponsor two talks by Rabbi Roseman in preparation for the retreat in Rockport that will be held the first weekend in February.  Rabbi Roseman will help us understand the historical background of the first and second Christian centuries that led up to the creation of rabbinic Judaism and its two most well-known texts, the Mishnah and the Talmud.

    We shall begin by describing the various political-religious parties that existed in the Jewish community of Judea of the time and how they perceived their role in the maintenance and preservation of Judaism.  Then, we shall look at the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the consequences of this cataclysm in Jewish life, as well as the rise of Judaism’s “daughter religion,” Christianity.  Since biblical Judaism could no longer be practiced as a viable religion, adaptations were necessary if Judaism was to stay alive.   The “rabbinic” Judaism that was the creation of this period is the direct antecedent of the kind of Jewish practice and thought in which we engage today.

    The purpose of these talks is to lay the foundation of understanding so that, when we meet our distinguished guest scholar, Rabbi Judith Abrams, we shall have a head-start in understanding the rabbinic textual materials that she will share with us.

    Both talks will be held in the Grossman Auditorium at 10:30 AM.  Light refreshments and beverages will be available at 10:00 AM.  We invite everyone to come.  Of course, there is no charge.


On Saturday, February 6, we shall gather at 10:00 AM at the Rockport Yacht Club for the first of our three learning sessions about the MAKING OF RABBINIC JUDAISM.

Our guest speaker will be Rabbi Judith Abrams of Houston, a well-known and dynamic interpreter of the literature and history of the period from the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem to the publication of the Babylonian Talmud (approximately 70 CE to 600 CE).  The documents of this period are often seen as arcane and difficult to understand, but Rabbi Abrams makes them come alive with her lively presentations, her delightful humor and her vivacious personality.  We count ourselves enormously fortunate to have such a gifted scholar join us for our retreat and hope you will look forward to meeting her and learning from her.

The retreat will continue Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.  Arrangements have been made for all meals and for lodging at the Hampton Inn in Rockport.   Saturday evening’s program is designed to produce smiles and fellowship; you won’t want to miss it!   Scholarship funds are available to assist anyone who needs financial help in attending.

A detailed flyer with reservation information insert in this bulletin .  Meanwhile, mark your calendars and hold the dates.  This is a special opportunity open only to members of CBI.


Once-a-month, lay members of Congregation Beth Israel conduct traditional Friday evening Kabbalat Shabbat (Welcoming the Sabbath) services in the Racusin Chapel.  These services last about 45 minutes; attendees often then join the rest of the congregation in the Sanctuary for the Rabbi’s sermon, the concluding parts of the service and the Oneg Shabbat.  The mood of these services is relaxed and celebratory, and all are welcome.

The schedule for the entire year is:  

January 22, 2010    April 30, 2010

February 19, 2010    May 21, 2010

March 26, 2010        June 18, 2010

We encourage you to enter these dates on your calendar now so that you will be able to attend these services when they occur.


Congregation Beth Israel owns Hebrew Rest Cemetery at the corner of Brownlee and Laredo Streets and controls the practices and procedures in two sections of the Seaside Memorial Park on Ocean Drive.  Each of these cemetery properties follows its own set of religious practices.   A Committee of the congregation is charged with the oversight of these cemeteries and with making periodic recommendations to the Board for the updating of the guidelines that cover the use of our cemeteries.  In November 2009, the Board of CBI acted on several recommendations.

First, we have revised the guidelines concerning eligibility for funeral services.  A current member may be interred in the cemetery without any special fee.  If someone is a resident of Corpus Christi, but is not currently affiliated as a member of the congregation, there is a one-time fee of $2,500.00.  If someone lives more than fifty (50) miles from Corpus Christi and wishes to be interred in one of our cemeteries, the fee is $1,000.00.

Second, the rabbi of CBI is in charge of all ritual matters concerning the cemeteries.  If the rabbi is not available at the time of need, the President of the Congregation and/or the Chair of the Cemetery Committee is responsible for providing a suitable substitute.  All funeral services and officiants must be Jewish.

Third, memorial markers may be ordered from any vendor.  However, there is a structured process for the approval of lettering and art work, both to maintain the Jewish character of the cemeteries and to assure that spelling of names and dates is correct.  No stone may be placed without the written concurrence of the chair of the Cemetery Committee and the Rabbi.

For your convenience, a complete copy of the Cemetery Guidelines is available at the CBI Office and on-line at the congregation’s web site, and we urge you to read them.  The web site’s address is  www.bethisraelcc.com .  In future months, we shall also post a copy of a booklet describing Jewish funeral and mourning practices (as accepted by CBI).  Should you, in the meantime, have any questions, please address them to the Rabbi who will be glad to counsel with you.

As always, we urge members of the congregation to consider meeting with the staff at Seaside and making funeral arrangements before the time of need.  Nothing you can do is a greater kindness for your survivors than to spare them the need to go to the funeral home shortly after the death of a loved one and engage in this very difficult discussion.