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Pre Shabbat Message from Rabbi Gelman and Ruthie (3/13/20)

03/13/2020 09:14:31 AM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Dear Friends,
We want to reiterate we are here for you and when we can to provide calming and helping support. The disruption of daily active life can be unsettling, and as some are curtailing activities and may be coming to shul less, we want to make sure that your spiritual and communal needs are being met. Please be in touch with us if you are aware of anyone who can use a check in call or visit. 
We feel...

Kiddush Hashem Country

03/04/2020 10:48:49 AM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Last week, Robert M. Beren Academy’s High School basketball team, The Beren Stars, their family members and fans traveled to Waco, Texas for the Division IA state basketball championship tournament. Since the semi-finals were scheduled for Friday afternoon and the finals were scheduled for Saturday night, the school made arrangements for everyone to spend Shabbat together at a nearby hotel. I had the privilege of playing a small...Read more...

The Kiss of Greatness or What Is The Torah For?

10/10/2018 01:17:16 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

One of the more beautiful and meaningful Jewish customs is the practice of  starting the Torah again right after we complete it on Simchat Torah. The reason we do this is so not to give the appearance that once done with the Torah we no longer have interest in it, that we have lost our love for the Torah.

At first glance, it does not seem to be a realistic fear. After all, before we read the Torah, we will...Read more...

Kavanot (Points To Consider) for a meaningful Rosh Hashana Davening

08/30/2018 12:53:37 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

The Rosh Hashana davening is challenging in that it is very busy and full of choreography. Some find it difficult to focus and create moments of quiet introspection.

Do not feel rushed to keep up. It is more important to internalize the prayers. One should stop and listen to the shofar when the time comes. Rabbi Barry Gelman


Wait For It...

08/13/2018 02:45:07 PM


Rabbi Barry Gelman

Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point notes that there is a  magical moment when an idea or social behavior crosses a threshold and spreads like wildfire.

I think there is a similar idea in Judaism that is helpful when thinking about the themes of the High Holidays.

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one.

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with...Read more...

Fixing Sinai: Purim and Jewish Conscience

03/08/2017 08:32:12 AM


The Torah says, “And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the lowermost part of the mount” (Exodus 19:17). Rabbi Avdimi bar Ḥama bar Ḥasa said: the Jewish people actually stood beneath the mountain, and the verse teaches that the Holy One, Blessed be He, overturned the mountain above the Jews like a tub, and said to them: If you accept the Torah, excellent,...Read more...

03/08/2017 08:31:13 AM


Update this content.

Water Cooler Revolution

12/15/2016 10:32:26 AM


This article appeared in the Houston Chronicle on 12/11/16. 


Do Not Lose Faith In Faith

12/07/2016 01:26:55 PM


I read a book review this week entitled What Makes A Great Parish. The book  being reviewed is called Great Catholic Parishes: How Four Essential Practices Make Them Thrive. One of the four practices captured my attention. According to the author of the book great parishes “foster spiritual maturity”.


I love that term - spiritual...

Abraham, Civil Discourse and Us

11/18/2016 09:24:10 AM


I have been asked this week by a number of people about the uptick in reports of hate crimes and acts of  bigotry.

First, it is important to acknowledge that President elect Trump has told his supporters to stop the attacks.  He said: "I am so saddened to hear that, and I say, 'Stop it. If it -- if it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the...Read more...

Take The Long View on Life Cycle Events

10/28/2015 11:34:12 AM


It’s been a long time since I wrote about spending on Simchas. The issue was raised again in a recent article suggesting a correlation between spending money on weddings and divorce rates.  “Francis and Mialon surveyed more than 3,000 people — all of whom have been married just once — and found that across income levels the more you dish out on the Big Day, the...Read more...

You Shall Teach Them To your Children"

10/12/2015 09:12:36 AM


“You shall teach them to your children” (Devarim 11:19)

Dear Friends,

On Shabbat I spoke about the importance of serving as role models for our children. I focused on two areas - coming to shul...Read more...

A Sudden Loss In Cabin Pressure - Bereishit 5776 / 2015

10/10/2015 08:25:50 PM


We just blessed the new month of Cheshvan and we just read Parshat Bereishit. This is a good time to talk about new beginnings.

We also happen to have a large number of families who have just been blessed with a child and a number of expecting families.


When A Bad Flood Happens To Good People

10/09/2015 02:38:42 PM


How do you feel today? Of course, it is yom tov, RH, a joyous day, serious, yet joyous. On the other hand - all  is not the same as it was last year.  

Last year when we said U’netaneh Tokef - and asked who will live and who will die - what we did think life...Read more...

The Ingredients of Judaism

10/07/2015 08:28:20 AM


Three Elements of Judaism - This sermon is based on an essay written by Rabbi Marc Angel with some additions and expansion of ideas by Rabbi Barry Gelman

Parshat Ha’azinu - 5776 - Sept. 26, 2015 - United Orthodox Synagogues


I Have Laboured And Found

10/06/2015 10:34:09 PM


Shmini Atzeret is a tricky day. Technically speaking there are no more mitzvot left. No more lulav and etrog and no more sukkah. We only sit in the sukkah because we live outside the land of Israel. As far as the Torah is concerned, sukkot is over.

So what is Shmini...

In memory of Na’ama and Rabbi Eitam Henkin

10/03/2015 11:12:24 PM



I am not sure if we had to read Kohelet this morning. It has been suggested that we read Kohelet on Sukkot - Zman Simchateinu - the time of our rejoicing - to act as a balance against joy gone overboard. Coming on the heels of Yom Kippur , a day on which we act out our death, we are thrust into...Read more...

The Death of Despair

07/07/2015 04:52:37 PM


Sitting in shul last shabbat listening to the Torah reading, I began to reflect on the Parah
Adumah ­ the red heifer used to purify a person after being deemed impure via contact with a
corpse. It is death that brings impurity and the Red Heifer that removes it.
Today, we do not have the capacity to apply the laws of the Red Heifer and consequently, we
cannot remove the impurity of death. Does this mean that the laws of the...Read more...

Creating Kedusha / Homemade Holiness - Emor 5775

05/10/2015 02:38:20 PM


From time to time we should revisit the fundamental question of what it means to be a Jew. Of course, there is the normative aspect of being a Jew. A Jew is bound by the Mitzvot of the Torah.

One of the important aspects of teaching prospective converts is to make sure...Read more...

Yom Hashoah 5775

04/16/2015 09:02:24 AM


Dear Friends,

Rabbi Yehuda Amital was one of the most thoughtful and influential religious leaders of our time. He is also a Holocaust survivor. As today is Yom Hashoa, please take some time to read Rav Amital's account of religious life before and after the Shoah.

Rabbi Yehuda Amital (Klein) was born in 1924 in Transylvania, at the time part of Hungary. Following the Nazi occupation he was taken to a labor camp...Read more...

Can Love be Learned?

01/11/2015 12:14:37 PM


" I’ve begun to think love is a more pliable thing than we make it out to be. Arthur Aron’s study taught me that it’s possible — simple, even — to generate trust and intimacy, the feelings love needs to thrive."

"But what I like about this study is how it assumes that love is an action. It assumes that what matters to my partner matters to me because we have at least three things in common, because we have close...Read more...

Audio Shiur: Parshat Hashavua - Mikeitz

12/17/2014 03:58:11 PM


"How is it that Yosef, after living many years in Egypt, having attained a high and influential position in the house of an important Egyptian official, did not send his father even one message to inform him (that he was alive) and comfort him? Egypt is only six days' travel from Chevron, and respect for his father would have justified even a year's journey!" This shiur will analyze this famous question of Ramban based on the approach of Rav...Read more...

Audio Shiur: Parshat Hashavua - Vayeishev

12/12/2014 06:14:06 AM


A story within a story: Why does the story of Yehuda and Tamar interrupt the Joseph narrative? This shiur uses Midrash and textual clues to show the measure for measure aspect of Yehuda's life.


Lift Your Eyes

12/11/2014 04:28:04 PM


There are few opportunities to engage in pure Hachnasat Orchim (welcoming guests into our home). What I mean by pure Hachnasat Orchim is opportunity to welcome into our home people we do not know and who were not invited in advance.

Of course, there is a tremendous amount of  hosting that we...Read more...

Rosh Hashana / Yom Kippur Follow Up - Choose Life / Choose Learning

10/05/2014 07:39:50 AM


Two of the themes we focused on over Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were:

1. Making life affirming decisions. This was suggested as a spiritual response to groups that celebrate death.

“We, all of...

Sat, April 4 2020 10 Nisan 5780