Hanukkah Party Sunday

IMG_4964Friday night services this week at 7:00 p.m

Shabbat morning services at 9 a.m. this Saturday December 8. Torah service at 9:45 a.m. and children’s story time/theatre with Morah Shereen at 10:30 a.m. Delish kidish lunch at 12 noon courtesy of Bob Halperin and his famous cholent!

Sunday school class December 9 at 10 a.m.

The Hanukkah party of the year! December 9,
THIS SUNDAY @ 5 p.m.
Be there or be square!

Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Message:

This Shabbat has a triple reading from the Torah-it is Parshath Mikketz, Rosh Hodesh Teveth, and Shabbat Hanukkah. Mikketz always falls during Hanukkah-perhaps a coincidence, but there is a link between the two. In our parshah, Yoseph is brought out of the dungeon and before Pharaoh. He emerges from darkness into light. Similarly, this week we light our hanukkioth to bring light into this darkest time of year-and indeed, the sun is once again starting to set later. There may be darkness in our lives, but light always returns. And even in the darkness, as God was with Yoseph in the dungeon, God is with us. Even in the Valley of Death’s Shadow, God’s presence never leaves. May our homes and our lives be filled with light. Shabbat Shalom, Hodesh Tov, and Hag Urim Sameah, a joyous Festival of Lights.

Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe

Shabbat candle lighting times are at 5:12 p.m.
We want to encourage our community to seek support in each other during this time of grief and pain. In particular, synagogues around the country are encouraging their congregants to make a special effort to attend services this week, in an act of solidarity and strength. Congregation Beth El will be having Friday night services this week at 7:00 pm and we hope you can join us.
This week’s parshah, Vayyeshev, picks up the story of the sons of Ya’akov/Yisrael, in particular Yoseph and Yehudah. We know the story of Yoseph of course-the boy with the “technicolor dreamcoat” who is sold into slavery in Egypt. But this parshah is also the story of Yehudah, one of his brothers who sold him into slavery (or not-the text of the Torah is somewhat unclear). Why these two brothers, out of the twelve? Obviously, Yoseph would save his entire family (and the nation of Egypt) from starvation. However, it is perhaps more significant from the Torah’s point of view that these two would be the ancestors of the two dominant tribes of Israel-Ephraim and Yehudah. Indeed, Yehudah would eventually be the ancestor of King David, and of the Messiah. The story of these two brothers would become the story of our People. Shabbat Shalom.This week’s parshah, Vayyeshev, picks up the story of the sons of Ya’akov/Yisrael, in particular Yoseph and Yehudah. We know the story of Yoseph of course-the boy with the “technicolor dreamcoat” who is sold into slavery in Egypt. But this parshah is also the story of Yehudah, one of his brothers who sold him into slavery (or not-the text of the Torah is somewhat unclear). Why these two brothers, out of the twelve? Obviously, Yoseph would save his entire family (and the nation of Egypt) from starvation. However, it is perhaps more significant from the Torah’s point of view that these two would be the ancestors of the two dominant tribes of Israel-Ephraim and Yehudah. Indeed, Yehudah would eventually be the ancestor of King David, and of the Messiah. The story of these two brothers would become the story of our People. Shabbat Shalom.

THIS SUNDAY – Finally: the Hanukkah bash of the year.

Sunday December 9th at 5 p.m. at Beth El. Live music from KLEZ AUSTIN, latkes, food, our famous Israeli sufganiot, more live music, fun and games for the whole family, plus the candles burnin’ on our menorahs. We can’t wait for the fun to begin. Free and open to the community. See you there.

NEXT SISTERHOOD EVENT:

DECEMBER SISTERHOOD EVENT: December 16 at 1 pm – Burekas with ANAT Inbar @ CBE! Don’t miss one of Anat’s famous cooking classes! Essentials Oils mini class in addition. Two for one! You can’t miss this fun afternoon!
The Author of Our Lives – Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

It was Joseph’s first real attempt to take his fate into his own hands, and it failed. Or so it seemed.
Consider the story so far, as set out in last week’s parsha. Almost everything that happens in Joseph’s life falls into two categories. The first are the things done to him. His father loves him more than his other sons. He gives him a richly embroidered cloak.

His brothers are envious and hate him. His father sends him to see how the brothers are faring, attending the flocks far away. He fails to find them and has to rely on a stranger to point him in the right direction. The brothers plot to kill him, and sell him as a slave. He is brought to Egypt. He is acquired as a slave by Potiphar. Potiphar’s wife finds him attractive, attempts to seduce him, and having failed, falsely accuses him of rape, as a result of which he is imprisoned.
This is extraordinary. Joseph is the centre of attention whenever, as it were, he is onstage, and yet he is, time and again, the done-to rather than the doer, an object of other people’s actions rather than the subject of his own.
The second category is more remarkable still. Joseph does do things. He runs Potiphar’s household. He organises a prison. He interprets the steward’s and baker’s dreams. But, in a unique sequence of descriptions, the Torah explicitly attributes his actions and their success to God.

Here is Joseph in Potiphar’s house:

God was with Joseph, and He made him very successful. Soon he was working in his master’s own house. His master realised that God was with [Joseph], and that God granted success to everything he did. (39:2-3).
As soon as [his master] had placed him in charge of his household and possessions, God blessed the Egyptian because of Joseph. God’s blessing was in all [the Egyptian] had, both in the house and the field. (39:5)

Here is Joseph in prison:

God was with Joseph, and He showed him kindness, making him find favour with the warden of the dungeon. Soon, the warden had placed all the prisoners in the dungeon under Joseph’s charge. [Joseph] took care of everything that had to be done. The warden did not have to look after anything that was under [Joseph’s] care. God was with [Joseph], and God granted him success in everything he did. (39:21-23).
And here is Joseph interpreting dreams:
‘Interpretations are God’s business,’ replied Joseph. ‘If you want to, tell me about [your dreams].’ (40:8)

Of no other figure in Tanakh is this said so clearly, consistently and repeatedly. Joseph seems decisive, organised and successful and so he appeared to others. But, says the Torah, it was not him but God who was responsible both for what he did and for its success. Even when he resists the advances of Potiphar’s wife, he makes it explicit that it is God who makes what she wants morally impossible: “How could I do such a great wrong? It would be a sin before God!”(39:9)
The only act clearly attributed to him occurs at the very start of the story, when he brings a “bad report” about his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah the handmaids. (39:2) This apart, every twist and turn of his constantly changing fate is the result of someone else’s act, either that of another human or of God (as for Joseph’s dreams – were they a Divine intimation or a product of his own imagination? – that is another story for another time).

That is why we sit up and take notice when, at the end of the previous parsha, Joseph takes destiny into his own hands. Having told the chief steward that in three days he would be pardoned by Pharaoh and restored to his former position, and having no doubt at all that this would happen, he asks him to plead his cause with Pharaoh and secure his freedom: “When things go well for you, just remember that I was with you. Do me a favour and say something about me to Pharaoh. Perhaps you will be able to get me out of this place.” (40:14)

What happens? “The chief steward did not remember Joseph. He forgot about him.” (40:23) The doubling of the verb is powerful. He did not remember. He forgot. The one time Joseph tries to be the author of his own story, he fails. The failure is decisive.
Tradition added one final touch to the drama. It ended the parsha of Vayeshev with those words, leaving us at the point that his hopes are dashed. Will he rise to greatness? Will his dreams come true? The question “What happens next?” is intense, and we have to wait a week to know.

Time passes and with the utmost improbability (Pharaoh too has dreams, and none of his magicians or wise men can interpret them – itself odd, since dream interpretation was a specialty of the ancient Egyptians), we learn the answer. “Two full years passed.” Those, the words with which our parsha begins, are the key phrase. What Joseph sought to happen, happened. He did leave the prison. He was set free. But not until two full years had passed.

Between the attempt and the outcome, something intervened. That is the significance of the lapse of time. Joseph planned his release, and he was released, but not because he planned it. His own attempt ended in failure. The steward forgot all about him. But God did not forget about him. God, not Joseph, brought about the sequence of events – specifically Pharaoh’s dreams – that led to his release.
What we want to happen, happens, but not always when we expect, or in the way we expect, or merely because we wanted it to happen. God is the co-author of the script of our life, and sometimes – as here – He reminds us of this by making us wait and taking us by surprise.

That is the paradox of the human condition as understood by Judaism. On the one hand we are free. No religion has so emphatically insisted on human freedom and responsibility. Adam and Eve were free not to sin. Cain was free not to kill Abel. We make excuses for our failures – it wasn’t me; it was someone else’s fault; I couldn’t help it. But these are just that: excuses. It isn’t so. We are free and we do bear responsibility.

Yet, as Hamlet said: “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends/ Rough-hew them how we will.” God is intimately involved in our life. Looking back in middle- or old age, we can often discern, dimly through the mist of the past, that a story was taking shape, a destiny slowly emerging, guided in part by events beyond our control. We could not have foreseen that this accident, that illness, this failure, that seemingly chance encounter, years ago, would have led us in this direction. Yet now in retrospect it can seem as if we were a chess piece moved by an invisible hand that knew exactly where it wanted us to be.

It was this view, according to Josephus, that distinguished the Pharisees (the architects of what we call rabbinic Judaism) from the Sadducees and the Essenes. The Sadducees denied fate. They said God does not intervene in our lives. The Essenes attributed all to fate. They believed that everything we do has been predestined by God. The Pharisees believed in both fate and free will. “It was God’s good pleasure that there should be a fusion [of divine providence and human choice] and that the will of man with his virtue and vice should be admitted to the council-chamber of fate” (Antiquities, xviii, 1, 3).

Nowhere is this clearer than in the life of Joseph as told in Bereishit, and nowhere more so than in the sequence of events told at the end of last week’s parsha and the beginning of this. Without Joseph’s acts – his interpretation of the steward’s dream and his plea for freedom – he would not have left prison. But without divine intervention in the form of Pharaoh’s dreams, it would also not have happened.
This is the paradoxical interplay of fate and freewill. As Rabbi Akiva said: “All is foreseen yet freedom of choice is given” (Avot 3:15). Isaac Bashevis Singer put it wittily: “We have to believe in free will: we have no choice.” We and God are co-authors of the human story. Without our efforts we can achieve nothing. But without God’s help we can achieve nothing either. Judaism found a simple way of resolving the paradox. For the bad we do, we take responsibility. For the good we achieve, we thank God. Joseph is our mentor. When he is forced to act harshly he weeps. But when he tells his brothers of his success he attributes it to God. That is how we too should live.

Parashat Vayeshev

Hanukkah Party 1Friday night services this week at 7:00 p.m

Sunday school class December 2! We can’t wait to see our BERS. Lots of Hanukkah fun and learning! Rachael is coming to play Hanukkah songs with the children, and we will be making Hanukkiot!

Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Message:
This week’s parshah, Vayyeshev, picks up the story of the sons of Ya’akov/Yisrael, in particular Yoseph and Yehudah. We know the story of Yoseph of course-the boy with the “technicolor dreamcoat” who is sold into slavery in Egypt. But this parshah is also the story of Yehudah, one of his brothers who sold him into slavery (or not-the text of the Torah is somewhat unclear). Why these two brothers, out of the twelve? Obviously, Yoseph would save his entire family (and the nation of Egypt) from starvation. However, it is perhaps more significant from the Torah’s point of view that these two would be the ancestors of the two dominant tribes of Israel-Ephraim and Yehudah. Indeed, Yehudah would eventually be the ancestor of King David, and of the Messiah. The story of these two brothers would become the story of our People. Shabbat Shalom.
Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe

Shabbat candle lighting times are at 5:12 p.m.
We want to encourage our community to seek support in each other during this time of grief and pain. In particular, synagogues around the country are encouraging their congregants to make a special effort to attend services this week, in an act of solidarity and strength. Congregation Beth El will be having Friday night services this week at 7:00 pm and we hope you can join us.
This week’s parshah, Vayyeshev, picks up the story of the sons of Ya’akov/Yisrael, in particular Yoseph and Yehudah. We know the story of Yoseph of course-the boy with the “technicolor dreamcoat” who is sold into slavery in Egypt. But this parshah is also the story of Yehudah, one of his brothers who sold him into slavery (or not-the text of the Torah is somewhat unclear). Why these two brothers, out of the twelve? Obviously, Yoseph would save his entire family (and the nation of Egypt) from starvation. However, it is perhaps more significant from the Torah’s point of view that these two would be the ancestors of the two dominant tribes of Israel-Ephraim and Yehudah. Indeed, Yehudah would eventually be the ancestor of King David, and of the Messiah. The story of these two brothers would become the story of our People. Shabbat Shalom.
This week’s parshah, Vayyeshev, picks up the story of the sons of Ya’akov/Yisrael, in particular Yoseph and Yehudah. We know the story of Yoseph of course-the boy with the “technicolor dreamcoat” who is sold into slavery in Egypt. But this parshah is also the story of Yehudah, one of his brothers who sold him into slavery (or not-the text of the Torah is somewhat unclear). Why these two brothers, out of the twelve? Obviously, Yoseph would save his entire family (and the nation of Egypt) from starvation. However, it is perhaps more significant from the Torah’s point of view that these two would be the ancestors of the two dominant tribes of Israel-Ephraim and Yehudah. Indeed, Yehudah would eventually be the ancestor of King David, and of the Messiah. The story of these two brothers would become the story of our People. Shabbat Shalom.

SAVE THE DATE: the Hanukkah bash of the year. We’ve been waiting patiently all year. And finally…… ONLY ONE WEEK AWAY
Sunday December 9th at 5 p.m. at Beth El. Live music from KLEZ AUSTIN, latkes, food, our famous Israeli sufganiot, more live music, fun and games for the whole family, plus the candles burnin’ on our menorahs. We can’t wait for the fun to begin. Free and open to the community. See you there.

NEXT SISTERHOOD EVENT:

DECEMBER SISTERHOOD EVENT: December 16 at 1 pm – Burekas with ANAT Inbar @ CBE! Don’t miss one of Anat’s famous cooking classes! Essentials Oils mini class in addition. Two for one! You can’t miss this fun afternoon!

Family Reunions and Beyond – My Jewish Learning.

Isn’t Jacob’s peace with Esau as important as Joseph’s reconciliation with his brothers? BY HANAN SCHLESINGER

The Book of Genesis is nothing if not a story of dysfunctional families.
Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Hagar, Sarah and Abraham, Isaac and Rebecca, Leah and Rachel: again and again we read of strife and acrimony, miscommunication, jealousy, even fratricide.
We shall focus here on two of these unfortunate cases.
1.Esau and Jacob are locked in struggle literally from before birth. The climax of their tragic relationship is when, at his mother’s urging, Jacob deceives his blind father and steals the blessing intended for his sibling Esau. Esau vows to kill his brother.
2. Jacob favors one son over all the other 12. Spoiled Josephhas illusions of grandeur that he cannot keep to himself. His brothers come to hate him; they ultimately try to kill him. Leaving Joseph for dead, they lie through their teeth as they present to their father “evidence” that a wild animal has devoured him.
This is not however the whole story. These two conflicts end up turning out very differently from the way they began.
As the Book of Genesis nears its end, Jacob and his sons are reunited with Joseph and we see Joseph’s brothers expressing true remorse. He forgives them. Peace and harmony are restored. We learn that our forefathers were not perfect. Their greatness lies in their ability to recognize their sins, to repent and to make amends. Like all of us they are broken, but they know — and they teach us — how to put the pieces back together again.
Earlier, in Parashat Vayishlach, Jacob and Esau are reunited after two decades. Forgetting his past enmity towards his sibling, Esau runs towards his brother Jacob, falls upon his neck, embraces and kisses him, and they both weep tears of joy. Jacob offers lavish presents to his brother, explaining that they represent the blessing that he had stolen from his brother and that he is now returning. He asks to be accepted in forgiveness. A beautiful verse reveals Jacob’s inner thoughts as he says to himself, “If I request atonement with this gift, perhaps he will forgive me.” And indeed Esau accepts both the gift and his brother’s penitence.
Our ancient interpretive tradition (known as Midrash ) lauds the reconciliation and unity of Joseph and his brothers, yet it by and large ignores and even denies the wrong done by Jacob to Esau and the repentance and reconciliation that transpire in the relationship between these two brothers. Why?
The answer is clear: Joseph and his brothers is a story of “all in the family,” while Jacob and Esau is a tale of us and them. Joseph and his brothers make up the tribes of Israel. Unity is our desideratum. But while Jacob is our patriarch, Esau is by all accounts outside of the Jewish covenant, a different family and ultimately a different nation. He is the father of the Edomites, but he is not our father.
Furthermore, in later Jewish thought Esau represents the Roman Empire and Christendom and by extension, the whole non-Jewish world. These associations were created at times of conflict and cruel persecution, of anti-Semitism. They were founded on a forced, adversarial reading of the text that was suggested by reality as experienced by our forefathers.
Until this very day many of us still refuse to let go. Too many traditional Jews — and I am talking primarily about religious Jews in Israel where I live — won’t let go of their enmity towards Esau and won’t let the relationship between Jews and gentiles move towards understanding and reconciliation.
There is something in our collective Jewish psychology that is preventing the healing of past wounds. As a nation we have been traumatized. Almost 2,000 years of anti-Semitism have left their mark on us. Our wounds are still raw and painful. We say at the Passover seder that “in every generation they come to destroy us,” and we yet cannot find it in ourselves to accept that today this is not necessarily always the case.
We unconsciously read our fears back into the Bible, which then ends up confirming them. We refuse to let ourselves see reality change, and we certainly will not take proactive steps to change reality, because we believe the text says it cannot and will not change. As hard as it may be to admit, we suffer from a culture of victimhood that prevents us from understanding the other as he really is today and from taking responsibility to improve our situation.
Vicious cycles are not vicious for nothing. It is extremely difficult to break out of them. What is needed is a two-pronged approach of opening our eyes to see a different reality, and at the same time opening our foundational texts and rereading them to see the inspiring reconciliation of erstwhile enemies that they depict.
Reality can change; perception can change. And so can the meaning of the text. And a change in perception and a change in interpretation will help encourage us to make practical changes that will shape a better future for the Jewish people and for all those who come in contact with us.

Weekend services and Moroccan Shabbat

IMG_4789Friday night services this week at 7:00 p.m

Shabbat morning Services THIS Saturday 11/24 at 9 a.m. Torah service will be at 9:45 a.m., children’s story time at around 10:30 a.m., and a delicious MOROCCAN THEMED lunch at around 12 noon. We’re saving a seat for you! Thanks to Javis Howeth for sponsoring the delicious kidish!

Beth El Workday – THIS Sunday 11/25 from 10 – 12 p.m. Please help if you are able. All hands on deck as we get ready for a busy December.

Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Message:

This week we read about the return of Ya’akov to the land of his birth, and about his life and the life of his family. Just as he leaves the Land of Canaan with a prayer-promising to serve God in return for His protection-so too he prays on the eve of his return. However, the second prayer is very different. It is no longer the cocky youth bargaining with the Creator, but rather a mature adult who recognizes his own limitations, as well as the limitless nature of the Divine. Ya’akov expresses his fear of his brother ‘Esav, and realizes that he has nothing to offer in return for Divine Providence, but asks for it anyway. This is the model for our prayers on the High Holidays, when we ask for forgiveness not because we somehow deserve it, but because it is in God’s nature to be compassionate. This attitude of humility is one which our Tradition seeks to teach us, along with gratitude, which we expressed this week at Thanksgiving. May these states of mind always be with us and in us, and may we always, in the words of the prophet “walk humbly with our God.” Shabbat Shalom

Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe

Shabbat candle lighting times are at 5:13 p.m.
We want to encourage our community to seek support in each other during this time of grief and pain. In particular, synagogues around the country are encouraging their congregants to make a special effort to attend services this week, in an act of solidarity and strength. Congregation Beth El will be having Friday night services this week at 7:00 pm and we hope you can join us.

Next Sunday school class December 2! We can’t wait to see our BERS. Lots of Hanukkah fun and learning!

SAVE THE DATE: the Hanukkah bash of the year. We’ve been waiting patiently all year. And finally……
Sunday December 9th at 5 p.m. at Beth El. Live music from KLEZ AUSTIN, latkes, food, our famous Israeli sufganiot, more live music, fun and games for the whole family, plus the candles burnin on our menorahs. We can’t wait for the fun to begin. Free and open to the community. See you there.

Huge thank you to our Thanksgiving Chefs for such a beautiful meal and company. We enjoyed kosher Turkey and sides, and hope to make this a Thanksgiving tradition for all in Austin who would like a home away from home for the holidays in the coming years.

NEXT SISTERHOOD EVENT: November 28 @ 7 PM! Essential Oils class!
At Beth El 8902 Mesa Drive

DECEMBER SISTERHOOD EVENT: December 16 at 1 pm – Burekas with ANAT Inbar @ CBE! Don’t miss one of Anat’s famous cooking classes!

Parashat Hashavua from Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Solidarity Shabbat

Friday night services, November 2 at the regular time of 7 p.m. Please join us for SOLIDARITY SHABBAT as Jews across the country, and indeed around the world, go to their houses of prayer in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who were murdered last shabbat in Pittsburg.

Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Message:

As we all know, as we were beginning our services last Shabbat morning, horror was unfolding at Congregation Etz Haim in Pittsburgh. An evil gunman, responding to lies and conspiracy theories murdered the early davveners, staining the sanctuary with the blood of the innocent. These martyrs were the most dedicated members of their congregation, the ones who were there regularly to make the minyan.

In their memory, let us resolve to act as they did in their lives. Let us come to services in the spirit of joy and pride, celebrating Shabbat with our community. The gunman meant to terrorize not just the Jews of Pittsburgh, but all Jews everywhere. We can show that we will not give in to fear. Shabbat Shalom.
Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe

Shabbat candle lighting times are at 6:25 p.m.

Congregation Beth El Friday November 2 at 7 p.m.

CHAI MITZVAH ADULT CLASSES

We look forward to seeing all our participants next Thursday, 11/8 at 7 PM at CBE.

This month’s topic will be Tzedakah.

We encourage you to read the packet ahead of time so you are ready to participate in our discussion.

Also, remember that we will also be sharing your other personal goals.

We look forward to hearing what you are planning for:
*Personal study – on a Jewish topic

*Ritual – a Jewish ritual you would like to begin or more fully participate in
*Social Action Project
We welcome new members to our group. If you were not able to attend last month, but would like to join this time, meet us at Beth El!

See you soon,
Scott Berman & Shereen Ben-Moshe

SISTER HOOD EVENT: On Monday November 5th, we will join the Austin Jewish Book Fest at the J to meet author Iris Martin Cohen as she discusses her book The Little Clan. We’ll have our own table. Please see www.shalomaustin.org/bookfest for more details and of course, let us know if you would like to attend.

Sunday Funday with the BERS this Sunday at 10.

SAVE THE DATE for for the following Sunday, November 11. In conjunction with GLOBAL DAY OF JEWISH LEARNING, we are inviting Jan Hart, celebrated author, who will act out the story of her great grandmother who immigrated to Galveston from Europe over a hundred years ago and talk about her many adventures.

Huge thank you to our Chai Mitzvah Teens who volunteered at the Umlauf Botanical Gardens last Sunday. Tikkun Olam at it’s best! They brought cheer and good will to so many families and we are so grateful to them and to our precious Shereen Ben-moshe who leads the amazing Chai Mitzvah Program.

Rabbi Dr. Peter Tarlow’s weekly Parashat Chaye Sarah
You will find this week’s Torah portion, Chaye-Sarah in the book of Genesis 23:1-25:18. Its name is one of the more ironic titles. Called “Chaye-Sarah meaning the “Life of Sarah” it provides details of Israel’s first matriarch’s death and burial. Having “buried” Sarah the text moves onto her “replacement”. Rebecca will now become Israel’s second matriarch. The text is brutally realistic. We live our lives, we die, and someone else takes our place. Generations come and generations go, and to deny life’s finiteness is to deny reality. The text teaches this lesson both actively and passively. Actively, Isaac carries Rebecca into Sarah’s tent and passively, as we read the text Sarah rapidly fades from our memories and we focus our attention on her replacement Rebecca.
Yet ironically, despite the fact that the people change, each new generation must face the same eternal problems, simply presented to us with new characters and context. Reading this week’s portion makes us realize how names and places change but the dramatic plot that we call life often repeats itself.

One of the central themes found throughout this week’s portion is a concept of commitment transformed into action. It is not style but substance that counts. The text cares less about words than it does about actions. For example, we read of Abraham’s commitment to his wife in seeking for her an appropriate burial site. We also learn about our national commitment in the purchase of the Ma’arat Ha’Machepelah (or Cave of the Multiplication) where the Bible’s first family is to be buried. Finally, we learn of about personal commitments as we study the loving relationship that develops between Isaac and Rebecca.

In every case within this week’s parashah this same theme seeps through: that commitment means having a plan and following through on that plan, that good ideas must be transformed into real actions. The parashah teaches us that commitment is also related to the concept of patience. To be patient is to have the fortitude to stick with a goal even when there are many obstacles along its path.

In the modern world we often suffer from a lack of patience. How often do we demand instant gratification? On the other hand, commitment in the extreme also can lead to our becoming obstinate, to a refusal to seek, when necessary, political and personal compromises.
How do we balance a sense of ethical commitment with the flexibility needed to survive in a dynamic and constantly changing world? One of the Torah’s answers is that the basis for our commitments must be the eternal ethics given to us by G-d. In other words, people change, but that eternal truths in a dynamic and ever-changing world are eternal. What do you think?

Parashat Noach

Friday night services to inspire and reinvigorate the soul. Same time same place! 7PM with your Beth El Buddies!

Shabbat Morning services, THIS Shabbat morning, October 13, at 9 AM, with the Torah service at approximately 9:45 AM, children’s story time at 10:30 AM, and kidush lunch at 12 noon.
Please let us know if you would like to sponsor upcoming kidush lunches.

Saturday evening at the J – See below for a special Pro-Israel community event.

Sunday October 14 at 12:30 PM at Brushy Creek Park – Beth El picnic and canoeing – details below! 3300 Brushy Creek Rd., Cedar Park, TX 78613

Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Message:

This week, we are reading Parshat Noah, the story of the Great Flood, as the news reports reflect our Torah. In the past month we have seen devastating floods as a result of Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, torrential rains have caused the Llano River here in Texas to overflow its banks this past week, and now we are seeing the devastating effects of Hurricane Michael in Northwest Florida. It is all a sobering reminder that the forces of nature remain largely beyond our control. Just as Noah in our parshah, or his Babylonian counterpart Utnapishtim from the Epic of Gilgamesh, sometimes all we can do is ride the storm out. May our spiritual practice and our community help us to weather whatever storm comes our way. Shabbat Shalom.
Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe

Candle lighting at 6:45 PM

Chai Mitzvah Adult study group!
The first class was amazing.
Not too late to join.

Chai Mitzvah combines study, ritual and social action, providing the framework for a meaningful Jewish journey.

There are five components to the nine-month Chai Mitzvah experience:
Group study – meet monthly with a set curriculum

*Independent study

*Ritual

*Social Action

To learn more, or to join our Chai Mitzvah group, contact Shereen Ben-Moshe, info@bethelaustin.org.

Austin Hosts Christian,Druze and Minority IDF Reservists
on Saturday, October 13 at the JCC at 8 PM.

Friends –You are invited to a very special Zionist event. Come hear these amazing men and women who serve in Israel’s armed forces!

Free and Open to all!

October 14 Beth El & Beth El Religious School Picnic & Canoeing afternoon!

Bushy Creek Lake Park 12:30 PM – bring a dairy or pareve dish to share.

Come celebrate the beginning of Fall! There will be canoes and games.

Everyone’s welcome at Beth El!
Please RSVP

Mama Mia Here we Go Again!

Monday October 22 at the home of Juliette

Join us for a potluck dinner and movie night with the Sisterhood.

Men’s Club BBQ Cookout!

Sunday October 21
CBE @ 2 PM

And for your special listening enjoyment: Fascinating Podcast by
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks:

https://soundcloud.com/office-of-rabbi-sacks
Phone: 512-231-0266 | Email: info@bethelaustin.org
Web: www.bethelaustin.org