My favorite date on the secular calendar is March 4. It is not my birthday, nor is it a holiday. To my knowledge, this date has no historical significance whatsoever. The only reason I delight in the date is the fact that it is the only day on the entire calendar that can be read as a sentence (as long as you misspell fourth): March forth!
Marching forth is exactly what we are doing as a congregation. In less than a year, our programming calendar has literally exploded on all fronts. Here are some of the most promising programs that we have proudly introduced:
In the realm of social action, we have launched a new committee that is committed to broadening our reach to serve those who need us most. In response to our inspiring Yom Kippur afternoon experience with the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, a committed group of social action minded members honored our pledge to partner with the church in an effort to address needs in Houston’s Fifth Ward. In December, over 30 of us took a bus tour of the neighborhood and returned with countless ideas on how we might work together to make a difference. Now, our new Social Action Committee is committing itself to March forth.
Senior Chai programming is also moving forward. Each month, through weekly yoga classes, art classes, presentations and historical tours, HCRJ engages scores of retirees who have the desire to remain active. In less than a year, our programming has become so successful that there is often a waiting list for courses and tours. Senior Chai has quickly become a sacred community, and as we continue to build on our successes, we will continue to March forth.
In June, we received a grant from the Houston Jewish Community Foundation to create a center for interfaith outreach. This center is an outgrowth of HCRJ’s longstanding efforts to be inclusive of interfaith families. Through it, we seek to establish an environment where the non-Jewish partner in an interfaith relationship can strengthen the Jewish community in a way that brings a sense of pride. Participants are encouraged to share different approaches to interfaith marriage, parenting and grandparenting. Our goal is to help families create homes that honor the values found in each faith and, as they do, find ways to March forth together on a united spiritual journey.
My bragging about our remarkable year of new programs would not be complete if I did not mention a very unique social group called, Adult He-Brew. This group blends epicurean passions with a deep love of process. The group will first focus on the art of brewing beer, coffee, tea and more. Currently, they are brewing 20 gallons of beer for the HCRJ gala on April 7. This group hopes to March forth into exciting new frontiers of food and beverage appreciation.
As we continue to March forth as a community, please consider joining us, and may each step we take along the way be a means to connecting us in fellowship and faith.