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  JEWISH AND KOSHER TEXAS, USA    הקהילה היהודית ומסעדות כשרות בטקסס, ארצות הברית

JEWISH AND KOSHER UNITED STATES   הקהילה היהודית בארצות הברית

 
 
 
  TEXAS, USA  
 

JEWISH AND KOSHER HOUSTON, TEXAS:

THE CITY HALL OF HOUSTON, TX, USA        בית העיריה של העיר יוסטון, בטקסס, ארה"ב
Houston City Hall. Photo: Daniel2986. August 14, 2007

Houston (play /ˈhjuːstən/) is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city within the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of 579 square miles (1,500 km2). Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown, which is the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. of nearly 6 million people.

Houston was founded in 1836 on land near the banks of Buffalo Bayou.  It was incorporated as a city on June 5, 1837, and named after then-President of the Republic of Texas—former General Sam Houston—who had commanded at the Battle of San Jacinto, which took place 25 miles (40 km) east of where the city was established. The burgeoning port and railroad industry, combined with oil discovery in 1901, has induced continual surges in the city's population. In the mid-twentieth century, Houston became the home of the Texas Medical Center—the world's largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions—and NASA's Johnson Space Center, where the Mission Control Center is located.

Rated as a global city, Houston's economy has a broad industrial base in energy, manufacturing, aeronautics, and transportation. It is also leading in health care sectors and building oilfield equipment; only New York City is home to more Fortune 500 headquarters.  The Port of Houston ranks first in the United States in international waterborne tonnage handled and second in total cargo tonnage handled.  The city has a population from various ethnic and religious backgrounds and a large and growing international community. It is home to many cultural institutions and exhibits, which attract more than 7 million visitors a year to the Museum District. Houston has an active visual and performing arts scene in the Theater District and offers year-round resident companies in all major performing arts.


Geography: According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 601.7 square miles (1,558 km2); this comprises 579.4 square miles (1,501 km2) of land and 22.3 square miles (58 km2) of water.  Most of Houston is located on the gulf coastal plain, and its vegetation is classified as temperate grassland and forest. Much of the city was built on forested land, marshes, swamp, or prairie, which are all still visible in surrounding areas. Flatness of the local terrain, when combined with urban sprawl, has made flooding a recurring problem for the city.  Downtown stands about 50 feet (15 m) above sea level,  and the highest point in far northwest Houston is about 125 feet (38 m) in elevation.  The city once relied on groundwater for its needs, but land subsidence forced the city to turn to ground-level water sources such as Lake Houston and Lake Conroe.

Houston has four major bayous passing through the city. Buffalo Bayou runs through downtown and the Houston Ship Channel, and has three tributaries: White Oak Bayou, which runs through the Houston Heights community northwest of Downtown and then towards Downtown; Braes Bayou, which runs along the Texas Medical Center; and Sims Bayou, which runs through the south of Houston and downtown Houston. The ship channel continues past Galveston and then into the Gulf of Mexico.

Geology: Underpinning Houston's land surface are unconsolidated clays, clay shales, and poorly cemented sands up to several miles deep. The region's geology developed from river deposits formed from the erosion of the Rocky Mountains. These sediments consist of a series of sands and clays deposited on decaying organic marine matter, that over time, transformed into oil and natural gas. Beneath the layers of sediment is a water-deposited layer of halite, a rock salt. The porous layers were compressed over time and forced upward. As it pushed upward, the salt dragged surrounding sediments into salt dome formations, often trapping oil and gas that seeped from the surrounding porous sands. The thick, rich, sometimes black, surface soil is suitable for rice farming in suburban outskirts where the city continues to grow.

The Houston area has over 150 active faults (estimated to be 300 active faults) with an aggregate length of up to 310 miles (500 km),  including the Long Point–Eureka Heights fault system which runs through the center of the city. There have been no significant historically recorded earthquakes in Houston, but researchers do not discount the possibility of such quakes having occurred in the deeper past, nor occurring in the future. Land in some communities southeast of Houston is sinking because water has been pumped out from the ground for many years. It may be associated with slip along the faults; however, the slippage is slow and not considered an earthquake, where stationary faults must slip suddenly enough to create seismic waves.  These faults also tend to move at a smooth rate in what is termed "fault creep",  which further reduces the risk of an earthquake.

Climate:

Houston's climate is classified as humid subtropical (Cfa in Köppen climate classification system). While not necessarily part of "Tornado Alley" like much of the rest of Texas, Spring supercell thunderstorms do sometimes bring tornadoes to the area. Prevailing winds are from the south and southeast during most of the year, bringing heat across the continent from the deserts of Mexico and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

During the summer months, it is common for the temperature to reach over 90 °F (32 °C), with an average of 99 days per year above 90 °F (32 °C).  However, the humidity results in a heat index higher than the actual temperature. Summer mornings average over 90 percent relative humidity and approximately 60 percent in the afternoon.  Winds are often light in the summer and offer little relief, except near the immediate coast.  To cope with the heat, people use air conditioning in nearly every vehicle and building in the city; in 1980 Houston was described as the "most air-conditioned place on earth".  Scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms are common in the summer. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Houston was 109 °F (43 °C) on August 27, 2011.

Winters in Houston are fairly temperate. The average high in January, the coldest month, is 62 °F (17 °C), while the average low is 39 °F (4 °C). Snowfall is generally rare. Recent snow events in Houston include a storm on December 24, 2004 when one inch (2.5 cm) fell and more recent snowfalls on December 10, 2008. However, more recently on December 4, 2009 an inch of snow fell in the city. This was the earliest snowfall ever recorded in Houston. In addition, it set another milestone marking the first time in recorded history that snowfall has occurred on two consecutive years, and marks the third accumulating snowfall occurring in the decade of 2000–2010. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Houston was 5 °F (−15 °C) on January 23, 1940.  Houston receives a high amount of rainfall annually, averaging about 54 inches a year. These rains tend to cause floods over portions of the city.

Houston has excessive ozone levels and is ranked among the most ozone-polluted cities in the United States.  Ground-level ozone, or smog, is Houston’s predominant air pollution problem, with the American Lung Association rating the metropolitan area's ozone level as the 8th worst in the United States in 2011. The industries located along the ship channel are a major cause of the city's air pollution.

Cityscape: Houston was incorporated in 1837 under the ward system of representation. The ward designation is the progenitor of the nine current-day Houston City Council districts. Locations in Houston are generally classified as either being inside or outside the Interstate 610 Loop. The inside encompasses the central business district and many residential neighborhoods that predate World War II. More recently, high-density residential areas have been developed within the loop. The city's outlying areas, suburbs and enclaves are located outside of the loop. Beltway 8 encircles the city another 5 miles (8.0 km) farther out.
Though Houston is the largest city in the United States without formal zoning regulations, it has developed similarly to other Sun Belt cities because the city's land use regulations and legal covenants have played a similar role.  Regulations include mandatory lot size for single-family houses and requirements that parking be available to tenants and customers. Such restrictions have had mixed results. Though some have blamed the city's low density, urban sprawl, and lack of pedestrian-friendliness on these policies, the city's land use has also been credited with having significant affordable housing, sparing Houston the worst effects of the 2008 real estate crisis.  The city issued 42,697 building permits in 2008 and was ranked first in the list of healthiest housing markets for 2009.

Voters rejected efforts to have separate residential and commercial land-use districts in 1948, 1962, and 1993. Consequently, rather than a single central business district as the center of the city's employment, multiple districts have grown throughout the city in addition to downtown which include Uptown, Texas Medical Center, Midtown, Greenway Plaza, Memorial City, Energy Corridor, Westchase, and Greenspoint.


Economy: Houston is recognized worldwide for its energy industry—particularly for oil and natural gas—as well as for biomedical research and aeronautics. Renewable energy sources—wind and solar—are also growing economic bases in Houston.  The ship channel is also a large part of Houston's economic base. Because of these strengths, Houston is designated as a global city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network and by global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney.

The Houston area is a leading center for building oilfield equipment.  Much of Houston's success as a petrochemical complex is due to its busy man-made ship channel, the Port of Houston.  The port ranks first in the United States in international commerce, and is the tenth-largest port in the world.  Unlike most places, high oil and gasoline prices are beneficial for Houston's economy as many of its residents are employed in the energy industry.

The Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown MSA's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 was $385 billion.  Only 29 countries other than the United States have a gross domestic product exceeding Houston's regional gross area product.  Mining, which in Houston consists almost entirely of exploration and production of oil and gas, accounts for 26.3% of Houston's GAP, up sharply in response to high energy prices and a decreased worldwide surplus of oil production capacity; followed by engineering services, health services, and manufacturing.

The University of Houston System's annual impact on the Houston-area's economy equates to that of a major corporation: $1.1 billion in new funds attracted annually to the Houston area, $3.13 billion in total economic benefit, and 24,000 local jobs generated.  This is in addition to the 12,500 new graduates the UH System produces every year who enter the workforce in Houston and throughout Texas. These degree-holders tend to stay in Houston. After five years, 80.5 percent of graduates are still living and working in the region.

In 2006, the Houston metropolitan area ranked first in Texas and third in the U.S. within the Category of "Best Places for Business and Careers" by Forbes magazine.  Foreign governments have established 89 consular offices in metropolitan Houston. Forty foreign governments maintain trade and commercial offices here and 23 active foreign chambers of commerce and trade associations.  Twenty-five foreign banks representing 13 nations operate in Houston, providing financial assistance to the international community.

In 2008, Houston received top ranking on Kiplinger's Personal Finance Best Cities of 2008 list which ranks cities on their local economy, employment opportunities, reasonable living costs and quality of life.  The city ranked fourth for highest increase in the local technological innovation over the preceding 15 years, according to Forbes magazine.  In the same year, the city ranked second on the annual Fortune 500 list of company headquarters, ranked first for Forbes Best Cities for College Graduates,  and ranked first on Forbes list of Best Cities to Buy a Home.  In 2010, the city was rated the best city for shopping, according to Forbes.


Demographics: Houston is a multicultural city, in part because of its many academic institutions and strong industries as well as being a major port city. Over 90 languages are spoken in the city. The city has among the youngest populations in the nation, partly due to an influx of immigrants into Texas. An estimated 400,000 illegal aliens reside in the Houston area.

According to the 2010 Census, Whites made up 51% of Houston's population, of which 26% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 24% of Houston's population. American Indians made up 0.7% of Houston's population. Asians made up 6% of Houston's population (1.7% Vietnamese, 1.3% Chinese, 1.3% Indian, 0.9% Pakistani, 0.4% Filipino, 0.3% Korean, 0.1% Japanese), while Pacific Islanders made up 0.1%. Individuals from some other race made up 15.2% of the city's population, of which 0.2% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 3.3% of the city's population. People of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 44% of Houston's population; 32% of Houston is Mexican, 3.6% Salvadoran, 1.6% Honduran, 1.2% Guatemalan, 0.5% Colombian, 0.4% Puerto Rican, 0.4% Cuban, 0.2% Nicaraguan, 0.2% Venezuelan, and 0.2% Peruvian.

As of the 2000 Census, there were 1,953,631 people and the population density was 3,371.7 people per square mile (1,301.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 49.3% White, 25.3% African American, 5.3% Asian, 0.4% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 16.5% from some other race, and 3.1% from two or more races. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 37.4% of Houston's population while non-Hispanic whites made up 30.8%.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,000, and the median income for a family was $40,000. Males had a median income of $32,000 versus $27,000 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,000. Nineteen percent of the population and 16 percent of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 26% of those under the age of 18 and 14% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Culture: Houston is a diverse city with a large and growing international community. The metropolitan area is home to an estimated 1.1 million (21.4 percent) residents who were born outside the United States, with nearly two-thirds of the area's foreign-born population from south of the United States–Mexico border.Additionally, more than one in five foreign-born residents are from Asia. The city is home to the nation’s third-largest concentration of consular offices, representing 86 countries.

Many annual events celebrate the diverse cultures of Houston. The largest and longest running is the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, held over 20 days from late February to early March, which happens to be the largest annual Livestock Show and Rodeo anywhere in the world. Another large celebration is the annual night-time Houston Pride Parade, held at the end of June. Other annual events include the Houston Greek Festival, Art Car Parade, the Houston Auto Show, the Houston International Festival, and the Bayou City Art Festival, which is considered to be one of the top five art festivals in the United States.

Houston received the official nickname of "Space City" in 1967 because it is the location of NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Other nicknames often used by locals include "Bayou City," "Magnolia City," and "H-Town."
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houston

 
 
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