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10th of Tevet

On the 10th of Tevet of the year 3336 from Creation (425 BCE), the armies of the Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem. Thirty months later -- on Tammuz 17, 3338 -- the city walls were breached, and on Av 9th of that year, the Holy Temple was destroyed. The Jewish people were exiled to Babylonia for 70 years.

Laws and Customs for the day:

Tevet 10 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.)

Click here for more about the 10th of Tevet 



Zot Chanukah

Now, as we have reached the last day of Chanukah and Jews all around the world have lit their Menorahs and cast more light onto the world, let us take a moment to look inward and reflect on our personal connection with Hashem.

The last day of Chanukah is also known as Zot Chanukah from the verse in today’s Torah portion “Zot Chanukat Hamizbeach” This was the dedication-offering for the altar.

According to Kabbalah, this day is the last “seal” of our judgment from Yom Kippur.

With this in mind, let us find a way to strengthen our connection with Hashem. Let us increase in our learning. Increase in our prayers. Increase in our Mitzvot.

Have a happy & meaningful last day of Chanukah and may we light our Menorahs next year in Yerushalayim with all our brothers and sisters with the coming of Moshiach.

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Last Minute Chanukah Gelt Dilema- Join CHAI's Year End Campaign

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Last Days of Chanukah 5778/2017

Dear Friend,

We will kindle the 8th and final candle on the Menorah. Our Sages teach us that the tradition of lighting an additional candle each night of Chanukah demonstrates our obligation as Jews to grow each and every day.

As an organization Chabad-CHAI Learning Center of West Houston has grown in size and impact. Our plans for growth continue into 2018. We look forward to our new center's grand opening in the first quarter of next year. As the year draws to a close please challenge yourself to grow in your giving.

Please join our year end Campaign! 

December is a good time for donations as it benefits you on your taxes. Click here to make a donation now and bring more light into this world. 

For other giving methods see below.


Join our End of Year Campaign!

There are many methods to contributing year end all of which can benefit you on your tax return.

Here are some methods of giving that you should consider at year end? Remember that donations to CHAI are 100% tax deductive (speak to your accountant to see how this will benefit you on your return).

Auto Donation - If you are planning to purchase a new vehicle in the next few months donating it to CHAI can bring you a greater value on your tax return. Your tax donation value would be evaluated based on while selling it on the open market may bring you 30-40% of that value.

Real Estate Donation - You may have real estate that has depreciated in value. You can get the full appraised value for that real estate even if you couldn't sell it for that amount.

Appreciated Stock - Due to the shifts in the market over the past year you may have appreciated stock. Donating (transferring) the appreciated stock directly to CHAI helps you avoid capital gains tax while getting you a donation credit at 100% of the stock value.

Cash (or check or credit card) - Of course good old fashion donations via check, credit card or wire transfer to CHAI all can benefit you on your tax return. Speak to your tax advisor to see exactly how your contribution can benefit you. Donations to CHAI can be made via website, Paypal or via mail. Feel free to email or call if you need more information.

Airline Miles - Donating airline miles or AMEX award miles or similar award programs is now considered a charitable contribution eligible to be deducted on your taxes. For this or for information on any other contribution please contact me by email.

The real value of your contribution is above and beyond the cash value as your dollars are directed to helping us achieve our mission to inspire every Jew regardless of affiliation or background and to provide opportunities for Jewish education and experience.

May you and yours be blessed with material success in the upcoming fiscal New Year and blessings for health and nachas.

Rabbi Dovid and Elisa Goldstein


You may make your contribution online at the link above or mail to:

Chabad-CHAI Learning Center of West Houston
12645 Whittington Dr
Houston, TX 77077


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Why do we light an extra candle each night of Chanukah?

Ever wonder why Jews light an extra candle on the menorah each night of Chanukah?

In the times of the Talmud, there were two different houses of learning. Hillel and Shammai. The house of Hillel taught that every night of Chanukah, we add another candle to the menorah. The house of Shammai taught that we start with all eight lights on the first night of Chanukah and reduce one flame each passing night until we end up with a single flame.

So why do we add a light each night as in the way of the house of Hillel as opposed to the ways of the house of Shammai?

It is said that in general, the way of the house of Hillel was a more lenient approach than the house of Shammai. In most cases, the Talmud (a collection of writings that covers the full gamut of Jewish law and tradition), favors the house of Hillel. This is by no way a ruling against the house of Shammai. It is said that in the days of galut (Exile) we follow the ways of the house of Hillel. When Mashiach arrives, there will be more light and understanding and we will follow the stricter rulings of the house of Shammai.

As we wait for the times of Mashiach, may he come speedily in our days, there is a beautiful lesson we can learn from lighting an additional light each night of Chanukah. By lighting an additional Chanukah light each night, we add more light to the world.

May we all do our part in bringing more light into the world by lighting our Menorahs and encouraging our Jewish family and friends to do the same. Lets pray that with the extra light we shine this Chanukah, the world will be ready to receive Mashiach and we can celebrate Chanukah together with all our brothers and sisters as one in Yerushalayim. 


Fried Cheese Anyone?

Fried cheese anyone?

Yep....Chanukah is a great time to eat those fried mozzarella sticks. Add a 7 cheese pizza with extra oil and you’ve got a great Chanukah meal ;-). (We don’t suggest you have this kind of festive meal for all eight nights).

So what about potato Latkes and our other favorite oily recipes? Sure we should have them! What is Chanukah without potato latkes topped with sour cream, sugar, apple sauce or all of the above. We have a custom to eat potato latkes on Chanukah since the oil we use to fry them reminds us of the miracle of the flames on the Temple menorah burning for eight days.   

But did you know that potato latkes replaced the cheese latkes? Yep…there is an older custom to eat cheese pancakes on Chanukah, which is reminiscent of the dairy (and intoxicating) meal that the brave Yehudit (Judith) fed the Greek general before she decapitated him in his sleep, saving her village. Apparently cheese latkes morphed into potato latkes (potatoes were unknown in the Old World until the late 16th century) and a new custom was born.

Read more about the history of Cheese Latkes vs Potato Latkes

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Chanukah Lighting: Why Light After Dark?

The purpose of lighting Chanukah candles is to bring light where it is dark.

That is why Jewish people light Chanukah candles at night. Even though we light when its dark, we still need to light early enough that people will be around to see them. Why is that important? Because the Chanukah lights need to be seen so they can serve their purpose of reminding Jews of the great miracle G-d made. 

So when is the best time to light? As close as possible, but not earlier than Tzeit Hakochavim (Nightfall). Click here for a handy calendar that will show you the times each day or in Houston / Katy Just remember 6pm. Its a great time for you and your family to get together and bring your light into the world!

Want to learn more about lighting your Chanukah menorah? Click here for great insights.

BTW...Chanukah is almost here. Please go to our facebook page & see our upcoming events. Let us know you'll be joining us and of course, share with friends and family.

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Why is Chanukah eight nights long?

Why is Chanukah eight nights long? The Talmud asks and answers:

The sages taught: On the 25th of Kislev, the days of Chanukah are eight. One may not eulogize on them, and one may not fast on them. This is because when the Greeks entered the Sanctuary, they defiled all the oils that were in the Sanctuary. And when the Chashmonean monarchy overcame them and emerged victorious over them, they searched and found only one cruse of oil that remained with the seal of the High Priest. And there was sufficient oil there to light the candelabrum for only one day. A miracle occurred, and they lit the candelabrum from it for eight days. The next year, the sages instituted those days and made them holidays with the recitation of Hallel and prayers of thanksgiving.

But there’s more. Seven represents all that is found within this world. There are seven days of the week, seven classical planets and seven musical notes. In fact, the world itself was created in seven days.

Then there is the number eight, which represents that which is above, that which does not fit into the neat slots that hold the bits and pieces of our lives. The number eight evokes the transcendent and the G‑dly. Eight is the number of miracles.

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Have you made plans to join us for our Chanukah on Wheels event and Public Menorah Lighting? Click on the picture below to learn more.

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Teens get Kosher Lesson

 Rabbi Goldstein of West Chabad/ Katy was a special guest this sunday December 3 at a Chalon L’atid program. The program was designed for Jewish middle school students in the Houston suburban areas. 

Rabbi Goldstein was leading and teaching the teens about what goes in to making food kosher, kosher symbols and how to keep kosher. 

 A 7th grade teacher from Congregation Beth Shalom of The Woodlands said that “Rabbi Goldstein was awesome. He has an amazing ability in connecting with the teens. Everyone was asking questions and fully participating. I really loved the way he told us about the detailed process of what is and isn't kosher as well as the process of making foods kosher while keeping all the kids engaged!!!! He takes a complex subject and delivers it in an easy to understand way.” 

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