2001-01-06 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey Houston Moses Weiss: A Bright Future With A Solid Ancestral Legacy

Chatting With Chapey
Houston Moses Weiss:
A Bright Future With A Solid Ancestral Legacy


On Friday, December 29 we had the privilege of attending the naming ceremony of Houston Moses Weiss at the West End Temple.

At that ceremony, the West End Temple brought together four generations of the Weiss family.  Rabbi Harry Weiss and Pauline Fisch Weiss, the great grandparents of Houston, are remembered on the front window of the synagogue. Rabbi Harry Weiss was a serious scholar of the Torah and also an in depth classical scholar.  Rabbi Harry Weiss and his wife Pauline participated in many ceremonies at the West End Temple.

Rabbi Joseph Weiss, the proud grandfather, noted that he and his wife Bot had participated in many joyful ceremonies at the temple.  He recalled that he had a blessing for his sons William and Edward at their birth.  Rabbi Weiss told us that William in his Bar Mitzvah speech had said that no matter where his profession would take him in the world he would always come back to the West End Temple.  In that speech William had the ambition to be a scientist at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.  William realized his dream by earning a doctorate and serving as an outstanding scientist in the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Rabbi Joseph Weiss and his wife Bot are two of the most interesting and intelligent people that I have had the good fortune to know.  They are enthusiastic and positive about life. They are knowledgeable and conversant in many areas.  

Bot graduated from Cornell University and attended Johns Hopkins Medical School.  Her father, Dr. Benderly, had a practice in the Rockaways.  He served as the director of Jewish Education. Rabbi Joseph Weiss has a doctorate and earned his rabbinical training at Harvard University.  Rabbi Weiss and Bot are accomplished athletes. They have passed that love of athletics to their children and now hopefully to their new grandchild.  Research studies have demonstrated that athletes are outgoing, people oriented, aggressive, and competitive.  These attributes are the ingredients for success in life.

Dr. William Weiss and his wife Kathlyn, the proud parents, have an eye on the future, according to Rabbi Weiss.  The baby was named in honor of Moses Weiss, William's uncle. Moses was the brother of the Rabbi and lived across the street from them when the family was growing up.  He had a wonderful loving relationship with his nephews William and Edward. The godparents are Nancy and Arnold Coopersmith.  Nancy is Rabbi Weiss' niece.

Rabbi Weiss told us that at a naming ceremony, he presents the parents with a certificate.  It has a picture of a rainbow and Noah's Ark. It symbolizes saving the world two by two.  On the certificate it states that you are the children of your eternal God and may the God that blessed our ancestors, bless Houston Moses Weiss.  It further encourages the new baby to gain a good name for himself and encourages him to be a credit to his parents and to those who know him.

As part of the reading for December 29 there was a special reference to Moses in a passage entitled "as close to us as breathing."  It proceeds, "You
are as mysterious as the vast solitudes of night yet as familiar to us as the light of the sun."  To Moses, God said, "You cannot see my face but I will make my goodness pass over you."

The President of the Men's Club, Jesse Plutzer, gave a beautiful book to William. Rose Lieberman, the social secretary of the Women's Club, made a special presentation to Kathlyn.  Rabbi Weiss also noted that on the tree of life in the lobby of the temple the Social Club had inscribed a welcome to Houston Moses Weiss.  

Rabbi Weiss also directed us to the Torah section on Joseph.  Rabbi Weiss gains inspiration from this section because his name is Joseph. Rabbi Weiss noted that Joseph was a dreamer.  Through these dreams he was given a vision of his family and he gained hope and understanding. Joseph was able to take an objective view of his life.  This gave him steadfastness.  Dreams gave Joseph an invigorated spirit.  Rabbi Weiss noted that there is a resiliency in human beings.  We don't need to look for heroes.  We are all heroes.  We are able to go through life and cope with it.  Life is an inspiration.  We always have a dream and know that we are blessed.

Rabbi Weiss has been very active in the Rockaway Catholic Jewish Council, which promotes brotherhood, sisterhood and a loving spirit among all people in the community.   Father Paul Landolfi has also been a staunch supporter of the Council.  Fr. Landolfi came to the naming service at the West End Temple to offer a special blessing for Houston Moses Weiss. "Lord, Bless this child, keep this child close to you.  Let your goodness surround him, his parents, grandparents, and this congregation."

Dr. John Shure, president of the West End Temple, stated, "clearly this evening is unique.  We all feel like aunts, uncles and cousins to Houston Moses Weiss."  Dr. Shure mentioned that what keeps generations together is not money or a family portrait but a legacy of ideas. He gave Dr. William and Kathlyn Weiss a blank book.  This will give Houston the opportunity to explore his outstanding family history and to input his own ideas.  Rabbi Weiss noted that this is a fine legacy, which can be passed on from generation to generation.

Congratulations to Rabbi Joseph and Bot Weiss, the proud grandparents, and to Dr. William and Kathlyn Weiss, the proud parents, of Houston Moses Weiss.  This is a joyous and wonderful event.  May God bless the Weiss family on this momentous occasion.


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