Parashat Ki Tavo

Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Message:

As we draw near the end of the Written Torah in Parshat Ki Tavo, the first few paragraphs remind us of the cycle of Pilgrimage Festivals. The Parshah opens with a description of the offering of First Fruits, Bikkurim, which was made on the Festival of Shavu’oth. The ritual declaration made by the farmer offering the fruit includes the words “My father was a wandering Aramean”, which we know from the Haggadah of Pesah. The Torah then goes into a similar ritual for offering the tithe that was dedicated to the Levites and to the poor, which was done every third year on the Festival of Sukkoth.

Both of these offerings, and the Festivals to which they are tied, are meant to show gratitude for what God has given us, no matter how much that may be. As we approach Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when we pray for blessing in the New Year, we should keep in mind that we owe gratitude for whatever our blessings may be. The year to come may indeed bring us everything we ask-more likely, as in all years, we will experience some disappointments. Nonetheless, we can, like our ancient ancestors, show gratitude for the blessings which we did receive, and live with a sense of gratitude for what we do have. Shabbat Shalom.Shabbat candle lighting times in Austin 7:31 PMSunday School is starting after the High Holidays! Sunday October 4! Be sure to sign up
FOR YOUR LISTENING ENJOYMENT: The weekly parash from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks for your listening enjoyment!

Yom Kippur 5774

Congregants and Friends,
We look forward to ushering in Yom Kippur 5774 tonight at 7:15 with the beautiful Kol Nidrei service.  The following morning, starting at 9 am, with Mincha at 5:40 and Neilah at 7pm, with a light break the fast at the conclusion of services.  Please visit our website  schedule at
We look forward to seeing everyone and wish you all a meaningful Yom Kippur.

Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Message:

This Shabbat is of course also the Sabbath of Sabbaths, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  Yom Kippur is the only fast day which is not deferred for Shabbat, as it is itself the Ultimate Shabbat, a day to refrain from all worldly matters to concentrate exclusively on the spiritual.  Although Yom Kippur is a fast day, and a very serious time for introspection, it is far from being sad.  In fact, the Talmud states that there was no day in Israel more joyful than Yom Kippur, when the Jewish People were assured that their contrition was accepted by God.  The afternoon of Yom Kippur was even considered a propitious time for matchmaking in ancient times.   Yom Kippur should move us to a deep spiritual joy, based upon our resolve to improve our characters in the year to come.
 On a more practical note-once again I’d like to remind everyone whose health would be damaged by fasting-please do not fast.  If you are diabetic or hypoglycemic, if you need to take medicine which must be accompanied by food or drink, if you are subject to fainting, or if you have any other medical condition of the sort, Jewish Tradition actually forbids fasting.  Eat or drink enough to preserve your health, so that you can observe, God willing, many Days of Atonement to come.  The fast of Yom Kippur comes second to your health.
 May we all be sealed for good things in the coming year.  Shabbat Shalom and G’mar Hatimah Tovah.
Cantor Yitzhak Ben-Moshe

Children’s Services on Yom Kippur

Children’s services begin on Yom Kippur (Wednesday) morning after the kids and our child-size Torah scrolls accompany the large Torah scrolls around the sanctuary at the beginning of the Torah service. (Approximately 10 AM)

The younger children (Pre-K to 2nd grade) will then march out and meet with Morah Betsy during the adult Torah service. Expect songs, prayer and an animated re-telling of the story of Jonah. The playground will be closed at that time, and all students 4th grade and up are expected to listen to the Torah reading quietly in the sanctuary. (Third graders get to choose!) Then we’ll all listen to one of our big brothers or big sisters lead Ashrei in the sanctuary, escort the Torah scrolls back to the ark, and then the younger children will play outside or quietly in the social hall while 4th-6th graders are invited into the mini-sanctuary (formerly referred to as the garage and sometimes called the classroom or expanded social hall) to pray, discuss, sing and study Torah.

All children are welcome in the sanctuary at any time. We love kids, we welcome them, and we also want to model for them the behavior we expect from them at synagogue, especially on a day as long as Yom Kippur. Weather permitting, children may use the playground, play quietly in the classroom/mini-sanctuary, read a book in the social hall, or, of course come into the big sanctuary. They are always welcome if they can maintain the dignity of the holiday and respect the purpose of the room and of all those who pray. Entries and exits should be limited, and should be timed as to not interrupt the standing portions of the amidah, the barchu, or kaddish.

Please note that there will be games and books available for children on Tuesday evening for the Kol Nidre service, but we will not be providing child-centered programming at that time.

Any questions? Email Morah Betsy or fill in the form below.


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Freddie Grant’s z”l Unveiling and Shabbat Shuvah

This Sunday, 9/23, at 10:00 am at Austin Memorial Park will be Freddie Grant’s z”l unveiling ceremony. The cemetary is at 2800 Hancock Dr, Austin, TX and the Jewish area is the southwest corner, the section closest to MOPAC. Please plan to join us at 10:00 am on Sunday morning to pay respect to Freddie and honor his memory.

Also, please to join us at Beth El for Shabbat Shuvah services. Tonight, 9/21, Friday night services will begin at our regular time of 7:00 pm and tomorrow, 9/22, Saturday morning services will begin at our regular time of 9:00 am with the Torah reading around 9:50 am.

Cantor’s Message: This Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is known as Shabbat Shuvah, from the first words of the haftarah, “Shuvah Yisrael…”-“Return, O Israel….” The message is of course one of repentance. Though our Tradition maintains that repentance can, and should be done at any time, we are especially mindful of the need to do so now, as the days grow shorter and darkness falls earlier.

In the spirit of the season, let me now ask forgiveness from all in the Beth El family if I have hurt or offended you in any way, whether in word or did, by action or inaction. May we all forgive each other, and ourselves. May we all remember the blessings that we all bring to each other’s lives, beginning this New Year of 5773 with a clean slate. Shabbat Shalom, ug’mar hatimah tovah. May each of us be sealed for good in the coming year.

Kol Nidre will be held next Tuesday night, 9/25, at 7:00 pm and Yom Kippur morning services will start next Wednesday morning, 9/26, at 9:00 am. Please email us at with any questions or addtional details.

High Holidays at Beth El

Congregation Beth El’s schedule of services for the next few weeks including the High Holidays.    Our High Holiday services are open to the community, but we request you provide a donation to help us cover our costs and expenses.  In addition to regular services, we will have special children’s services on all of the Holidays.  For additional information or questions, please email us at

Friday Night, September 7                   Friday Night Services at 7:00 PM

Saturday, September 8,                          Saturday Morning Torah Services at 9:00 AM

September 8 – Saturday                         Havdallah and Selichot Services at 8:00 PM

Rosh Hashanah

September 16 – Sunday Rosh Hashanah Evening Service at 7:00 PM

September 17 – Monday Rosh Hashanah Shachrit Service at 9:00 AM

Rosh Hashanah Torah Service around 10:00 AM

Tashlikh Service at 4:00 PM at Old Spicewood Springs at 360 Under Bridge

September 18 – Tuesday Rosh Hashanah Shachrit Service at 9:00 AM

Rosh Hashanah Torah Service around 10:00 AM

September 21 – Friday Shabbat Shuvah Evening Services at 7:00 PM

September 22 – Saturday Shabbat Shuvah Morning Services at 9:00 AM

Yom Kippur

September 25 – Tuesday Kol Nidrei at 7:00 PM

September 26 – Wednesday Yom Kippur Shachrit Service at 9 AM

Yom Kippur Torah Service around 10:15 AM

Mincha at 5:30 PM, Neilah at 6:45 PM

September 29 – Saturday        Shabbat Morning Services at 9:00 AM