Galveston’s historic Congregation B’nai Israel will install Rabbi Matthew David Cohen at 6 p.m. tonight at 3008 Ave. O.

Rabbi Marc Kline will lead the activities, and a congregational family Shabbat dinner will follow. In addition, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Kline will conduct a Torah study and, at 6 p.m., the congregation will offer a catered dinner, live entertainment and viewing of its official 150th documentary presentation.

For Judaism in our state, it doesn’t get more historic than it does here. B’nai is the oldest Reform temple in Texas, with the first house meetings dating to 1856. It’s most famous leader was Rabbi Henry Cohen, whose efforts following the 1900 Storm have become legendary.

The cost for the meal and festivities is $40.

For details, call 409-765-5796.

The Institute for Creation Research will sponsor a Back to Genesis Apologetics Conference at Friendswood’s Calvary Chapel beginning at 6 p.m. on Jan. 24 at 3700 FM 528.

“There will be eight speakers, fossil walks and instruction on the defense of creationism,” said Debi Matthews, publicist for Calvary. “Included are 21 and 24-foot dinosaur skeletons, a tyrannosaurus rex skull and several ancient fossils.”

Ticket prices vary from $25-35.

Register at, or for details, call 214-615-8339.

Clear Lake’s Congregation Shaar Hashalom is offering a new course on Jewish traditions and home celebrations. This class will meet on Sundays from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at 16020 El Camino Real in Houston.

“It’s in response to the growing numbers of interfaith families in our synagogue,” said Cheryl Sigel for Shaar. “We looked at some of the ritual changes that other conservative synagogues in the country were implementing, such as allowing the person of another faith to accompany their spouse for a Torah Aliyah (public reading) during a life cycle event, such as a Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah or baby naming. The first class will be about the Sabbath. We welcome people in the general community to attend as well, whether they are Jewish or not.”

For details, call 281-488-5861 or email

Update: The Bible can be found in almost 700 languages around the world, but there’s not a single, complete sign language translation extant for use by the deaf. Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Deaf Bible Society are working on filling this gap, but there are 400 living sign languages in use globally, with no two alike.

“At least 95 percent of sign languages have no Bible translation,” the Deaf Bible Society notes on its web page.

Events for Faith Focus should be submitted at least two weeks in advance. Rick Cousins can be reached at

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