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Schneider Family Papers

Identifier: MS 895
Finding aid note: Forms part of the Houston Jewish History Archive. Stored offsite at the Library Service Center and require 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or for more information.

Scope and Contents

The Schneider Family papers contain materials from 1975 to 2016 including administrative records, cookbooks, correspondences, journals, memorabilia, photos, programs, and publications. Many papers are related to different aspects of the United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston, including the Men's Club and the Sisterhood, and the Hebrew/Robert M. Beren Academy. The collection contains several noteworthy texts such as a newspaper announcing the appointment of prominent religious leader, Joseph Radinsky, as the new Rabbi of United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston, photos of Mayor Lee Brown attending a Dedication for the new United Orthodox Synagogues's Shul, and a journal commemorating the opening of a new campus for the Hebrew/Robert M. Beren Academy. The materials are in good condition and would be ideal for researchers interested in the historical, organizational, social, and educational aspects of the United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston and the Hebrew/Robert M. Beren Academy.


  • 1975 - 2016


Conditions Governing Access

Material is open for research. Restricted materials are marked.

Stored offsite at the Library Service Center and require 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from the Schneider Family Papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library. The Woodson Research Center use policy is that researchers assume sole responsibility for any infringement of privacy, literary rights, copyrights, or other rights arising from their use of the archival materials. In addition to any restrictions placed by donors, certain kinds of archival materials are restricted for the life of the creator plus 50 years. These materials include, but are not limited to, student grades, transcripts, and any job applications or recommendations.

Biographical / Historical

Harry Schneider was born in Tashkent (capital of present-day Uzbekistan) in 1944. He came to the United States in 1951 with his family and settled in Philadelphia, where he grew up. Riva (maiden name pending) was born in (city pending) Germany in 1949, and came to Philadelphia with her family a year later. Harry and Riva married in 1970 and moved to Houston in 1972, when Harry’s job with DuPont transferred down south. They have three children. Harry and Riva have been members of the United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston (UOS) since their arrival.

United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston, commonly referred as UOS, was formed almost 50 years ago when three separate shuls, Adath Emeth, Adath Israel and Beth Jacob merged into one congregation and adopted that name. The oldest of those, Adath Israel was founded in 1905 at the time when the ‘Galveston Movement’, which sought to redirect Jewish immigration away from New York towards the center of the country through the Texas port, brought hundreds of Jews to Houston between 1905 and 1914.

Today, UOS is a Modern Orthodox congregation located in a beautiful and affordable residential area close to the Texas Medical Center, Rice University and the cultural and central business district of Houston. Currently, the membership is approximately 350 families and spans all generations. UOS is a center for worship, learning, and community service in Houston.

UOS believes in the philosophy of Torah u'Mada, commitment to Torah, halakhah, and the quest for kedushah, holiness and spiritual growth. Like other Modern Orthodox institutions, UOS values open intellectual inquiry and expression in both the secular and religious arenas; engagement with the social, political and technological realities of the modern world; recognition and deep appreciation of the religious significance of the State of Israel; and the unity of the Jewish community at large. UOS is affiliated with the Orthodox Union and Yeshiva University and other major Orthodox institutions in the United States. Excerpted from:

The Robert M. Beren school was founded in 1969, by a dedicated group of families who valued the importance of a Jewish day school education. Originally named South Texas Hebrew Academy, the budding school was housed in United Orthodox Synagogues for its first five years. When it outgrew those facilities in 1975, the school moved to South Braeswood near Chimney Rock. The physical structure was not grand or spacious, but its location in the heart of Meyerland put the young school right in the center of Jewish Houston. In 1976, with the school facing serious financial challenges and a student body of 70, lay leadership regrouped and redoubled fundraising efforts to ensure the stability of the Academy. The funds were used to renovate and update the school’s facilities, adding the Katz Lower School wing and a learning center dedicated to the memory of Larry Marc Rosen. The physical changes reflected the renewed commitment to excellence in education. In recognition of its high educational standards, the school received accreditation by the Texas Education Agency and by the prestigious Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1977-78. In celebration of these achievements, and to mark a new beginning, the name of the school was changed to the Hebrew Academy and a high school program was added. Soon the Hebrew Academy needed additional space. The expanding programs required more classrooms, laboratories, a Beit Midrash, performance/meeting space and facilities for indoor and outdoor athletic pursuits. Persevering through several setbacks, lay leadership found and purchased a large tract of previously unused land from a railroad company. Robert M. Beren’s naming gift anchored the major capital campaign that was launched to build the three wing academic building, gymnasium and outdoor fields, The Hebrew Academy became Robert M. Beren Academy, and in the fall of 2000, Robert M. Beren Academy moved just a couple of miles south to its beautiful new 52-acre campus. In addition, the Robert M. Beren Academy expanded and added a lower school Montessori program in 2006. Robert M. Beren Academy continues to offer traditional learning programs for early childhood, lower school, middle school, and high school students. In 2007, RMBA incorporated the premiere curriculum for Hebrew language and Judaics in the lower school, the Tal Am curriculum. Created in Israel, but implemented all over the world, it is an integrated, multi-disciplinary, creative program for inspired Jewish learning. A four year high school program was incorporated beginning in 2008. Before that time, Robert M. Beren Academy concluded at 11th grade, allowing students to finish all necessary course work in 3 years. The addition of a 12th grade challenged the school to create a new curriculum. The school rose to the challenge and now offers over a dozen AP classes. Excerpted from:


2 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of two boxes containing administrative records, cookbooks, correspondences, journals, memorabilia, photos, programs, and publications from Harry and Riva Schneider during their involvement in the United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston, United Orthodox Synagogues Men's Club, and the United Orthodox Synagogues Sisterhood, spanning 1975-2016.


The materials in this collection have been arranged in nine series as follows: Series I: Administrative Records; Series II: Cookbooks; Series III: Correspondences; Series IV: Journals; Series V: Memorabilia; Series VI: Oversized; Series VII: Photos; Series VIII: Programs/Flyers; Series IX: Publications/Newspapers

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Harry and Riva Schneider donated the papers on August 29, 2019

Related Materials

Robert M. Beren Academy records, MS 821; United Orthodox Synagogues records, MS 712; Dennis Halpin collection, MS 861; Jules H. Borger collection, MS 810
Guide to the Schneider Family Papers, 1975-2016
Leon Soifer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas Repository

Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston Texas 77005 USA