A Houston outreach center run by a rabbi who beat cancer twice is the recipient of a $6,000 grant from the Houston Jewish Community Foundation. The HJCF cited The L’Chaim Center’s innovative outreach to the disenfranchised and ill who often need a stepping stone to access traditional congregations down the road.
Funds from the special grant will help support free 2019 High Holiday services at ChristChurch Presbyterian in Bellaire. For a schedule of services, click HERE.
Rabbi Marcy Greene says her outreach center welcomes individuals of all faiths. The center provides spiritual first aid for all, many of whom face life-threatening illnesses or other catastrophic loss.
“Many find G-d only through adversity, and lack traditional Jewish education that would enable them to find peace and cope with death, illness and other life-altering events,” Rabbi Greene says.
The graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York says The L’Chaim Center Houston was born out of her own experiences with illness and death at Houston’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where she survived her own grueling battle with inflammatory breast cancer while helping minister to others also facing devastating forms of cancer and family tragedy.
“All of my High Holiday and weekly services, as well as Talmud and Bar/Bat Mitzvah classes, center around how traditional texts and offer concrete tips for personal resiliency and faith in the Divine hand,” Rabbi Greene says. “Everything focuses on the micro instead of the macro level. It’s all about reaching one person at a time.”
All prayers are explained and presented in a participatory fashion, she says. Although services are designed within a traditional framework, they are aimed at both Jews and non-Jews who find traditional prayer inaccessible due to their unique backgrounds.
Each component of the High Holiday service stands on its own, allowing congregants to attend for a single portion that still allows them to experience the entire trajectory of this holy time of year.
Included in this year’s services is a second, 5:30 p.m. Yizkor healing service on Yom Kippur with famed Houston animal rescue advocate Alaina Rosenblatt, who helps those mourning the loss of beloved pets understand the spiritual underpinnings of cats’ and dogs’ brief time on earth.
Rabbi Greene says The L’Chaim Center Houston highlights a few individual prayers and contemplation over marathon-like regular services.
“All sermons, teaching sessions, music and prayer choices speak to the L’Chaim Center’s philosophy of uplift and joy,” she says. “We seek to show that purpose and meaning may be actualized regardless of one’s finances or health. Each of us is the descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to whom G-d promised prosperity and blessings. We inspire our worshippers to find strength, courage and wisdom regardless of fate.”
The L’Chaim Center Houston is a progressive, independent Jewish ‘haimish’ havurah or warm and intimate congregation providing worship services, and more.