Our neighborhood is so much fun this time of year!
When my friends in our Methodist Sunday School class start talking about Christmas decorations, I’m talking inflatable Menorahs and dreidels. And I’m totally bummed to miss the Hanukkah parade this Wednesday night (info on Dec. 1 Menorah Mobile Parade). Sorry, I’ve got choir practice: getting ready for Christmas.
Our subdivision is just west of Meyerland, a 1,200-acre development of single-family homes that’s known as the center of Houston’s Jewish community. We are right behind the Jewish Community Center and near Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Beth Yeshurun and the Meyerland Minyan.
Ever since Meyerland’s grand opening in 1955, this area has been a magnet for professionals – especially physicians and others who work in the Texas Medical Center. My husband and his first wife bought this house back in the ‘70s because of its 20-minute commute to TMC as well as its price point for 3 bedrooms and 2 baths … much lower than prices in West U.
Talk about great neighbors: I’ve got 3 rabbis in this block and the next. Retired pediatrician on one side, child psychologist on the other, renowned neonatologist two doors down and CPA/attorney across the street.
And with a proximity to synagogues, private schools such as the Emery/Weiner School and the Shlenker School as well as HISD’s Kolter Elementary, our subdivision is quite the magnet for young Jewish families. Many of the parents grew up in the area. They’ve returned to join the numerous more-senior Jewish families who bought here years ago, and who often move into Seven Acres across the bayou when they can’t live independently any more.
Now what do I mean about fun? How about a parade to celebrate a new Torah? Yup, it headed down our street just a few years ago (see the picture in “Torah with a Texas Twang”). How about the New York Bagel Shop and Deli? How about Three Brothers Bakery? There are Kosher food sections in all the nearby grocery stores, with fresh Challah bread for your French toast as well as a wonderful selection of smoked salmon.
So while my church is adopting families for the Christmas holiday, I relish my neighborhood’s tradition of helping with programs such as Meals on Wheels coordinated through the Jewish Community Center. And while we’re putting up a Christmas tree and hanging a wreath on our front door, we remember the neighbor’s invitation to participate in the Festival of Booths. And their children’s Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.
So, Happy Hanukkah! Light the menorah and spin the dreidel! It’s good to be a Gentile in the Promised Land.