Men's Breakfast Report, June 2010
The Men’s Breakfast Group met Saturday, June 12 with members of the Jewish Community of Brazosport. Three members of the community attended: Sherman Kottle, Ed Smolen and Nancy Wilson.
Because the featured guests were Jewish, a kosher breakfast was prepared instead of the traditional pork sausage, dirty eggs and biscuits. The breakfast included bagels, lox (smoked salmon), cream cheese, and eggs. This is a traditional high end kosher breakfast. The supplies had to be bought at HEB stores in the Meyerland area of Houston which contains several synagogues.
The Jewish community of Brazosport has a storefront meeting place near Lacks in Clute. There are at present about nine families involved. This is not quite enough for a minyon, the quorum of ten adult males traditionally needed for a Jewish service, but they meet anyway. They have a female rabbi who comes from Houston once a month to conduct services, and other times conduct services themselves. The community started when Dow first came into the area and met in borrowed spaces, for a long time the Lutheran church. They eventually leased their present facility. The membership peaked at about eighty members, many of whom worked at Intermedics. When Intermedics was shut down these people moved away. Another source of decline is that many Jews working for local employers have spouses that work in Houston so they live in Pearland and go to Houston synagogues. Most of the members of the community are also associated with synagogues in Houston or Galveston.
The three main branches of Judaism in the U.S. are Orthodox, Conservative and Reformed. Orthodox Jews follow the law as set out in Leviticus which is impractical in Brazosport, so the community members are primarily Reformed Jews. Sherman Kottle says we throw out the book of Leviticus and completely ignore the dietary rules.
Nancy Wilson is a Messianic Jew who believes that Jesus is the Messiah. Her grandparents were Orthodox but she grew up in a home where they went to a Christian church but celebrated the Sabbath the traditional way. She therefore feels most comfortable with the Jewish community in celebrating their rituals.
The question arose as to whether they had met with anti-Semitic prejudice. Sherman stated that they had seen none, possibly because they have kept a low profile. For example, they will have wreaths on their doors and have a Hanukah bush. There were stereotypes present in the general populace. Winston asked about the statement that he had often heard that the Jews had all the money. Sherman pointed out that that the Jewish community members had to work at jobs just like the rest of us.
As usual, the men had an interesting discussion and a good breakfast. Our next meeting will be Saturday, July 10.