Passover 2020, Kulanu Jewish Community Havdallah

How different this Passover is from all other Passovers! On all other Passovers we celebrate with family and friends gathered around the table-on this Passover we will celebrate with family and friends on FaceTime or Zoom. But celebrate we will – including our annual tradition of the second night seder on Thursday evening at 6:30 PM. Just as at the first Passover in Egypt, we look forward to a time of freedom and liberation. We of course miss the physical presence of family members and fellow congregants-and as at all holidays, we especially miss those who are no longer with us. But they live on in our memories, in family tunes for the Seder or in a treasured old recipe. May we all have a joyous holiday, and as we say “Next year in Jerusalem”, we will also say “Next year together!” Hag Kasher V’Sameah.

Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe

Please let us know if you would like the PDF of the Beth El Hagaddah (by Rabbi Rosenbaum) and we will happily send it to you. We will use it on the second night seder.

Please come to Friday night services via zoom this Friday April 10 at 7 PM. LAst week the sound was great thank you to a new mic generously donated by Craig and Jyl. It was so heartwarming to to see our congregants via zoom!

Congregation Beth El – Friday night Online Services

Please note that there is no Sunday school this week, due to Passover, and Sunday school resumes for all our BERS April 19. From Pre K to our Bnai Mitzvah

This Saturday night – April 11 at 8:30 PM join the whole Austin Jewish community, including our very own Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe, in a community wide Havdallah PASSOVER edition.

Thank you to the awesome ladies who joined us for the Sisterhood Passover Exchange and cooking demo. We all had such a great time, as well as learnt some lovely recipes (which we shared in the Whattsapp group). Please let us know if you would like the recipes. We are planning a Beth El movie watchparty on Sunday evening April 12 at 7 PM. Details to follow.
Thank you so much to our dedicated and talented SUNDAY SCHOOL educators who so lovingly taught our children again last Sunday. Rachael joined every class to teach them Passover songs with her amazing guitar and sweet voice!

Friday services via Zoom, Sunday School Rocks on via Zoom

Dear Congregants,

We hope you had a great week all things considered. We want to remind each and every one of you that even though we may need to be “physically distant”, there is no way we are being “socially distant” from our beloved congregants. Please reach out to us if you need anything at all – from meals on the go, to just a phone call to say hello. We want to hear from you!

Please check every Friday evening at 6:45 PM for a link to be able to live stream our beautiful Kaballat Shabbat services. We will also post it on our Facebook page. Let’s make this homeshuling experience awesome!

If you would like a PDF version of our Friday night services, please email us ASAP at and we will happily send you a copy for free. Those lovely Friday night transliterate books were dedicated to the late Morris and Elaine Shapiro, who will be beaming down at us knowing that we are using and sharing them with the congregation that they helped found.

Sunday school BERS, we will be keeping to our regular Sunday schedules and meeting “virtually” with our amazing morot starting THIS Sunday March 29. PLEASE be on the lookout for a Zoom invitation from your class teachers. Contact Iris at for any questions please.

This Saturday night at 8:30 PM join the whole Austin Jewish community, including our very own Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe, in a community wide Havdallah.
Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Parashah:

This Shabbat we begin the reading of Sefer Vayyikra, the Book of Leviticus. The Latin name stems from the fact that this book deals largely with the duties of the Kohanim, who were of the Tribe of Levi. Actually, an alternate name in Hebrew is Torath Hakohanim. The parshah begins with the laws of offering an ‘olah, a sacrifice which was entirely burned on the altar for God. We read how to sacrifice a bull, or a sheep, or a goat, and we are told that the smoke of these sacrifices is a “reiah nikhoah”-“a sweet savor” to God. And then, the Torah describes the ‘olah of two doves-which was offered by someone who couldn’t afford a bull, a sheep, or a goat. The Torah states that the entire bird was burned on the altar, including the feathers. No human would say that the smell of burning feathers is savory or pleasant-but this sacrifice is also called a “sweet savor”. Why is this? Because the offering of a poor person was just as pleasing to God as a bull offered by a wealthy person. In God’s view, we are all equal, whatever means we have. We do not believe in the so-called “Prosperity Gospel”-that the rich are more favored by God. We are all, down to the “hewer of wood and the drawer of water” precious to our Creator. Shabbat Shalom, and Hodesh Tov-a good and blessed New Month of Nissan.
Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe

Shabbat candle lighting time in Austin 7:29 PM

Purim at Congregation Beth El

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PLEASE join us tonight at 7 PM for a soulful and purpose-filled service, as we welcome in Shabbat.

Sunday School with the BERS this Sunday 3/8 at 10 AM. Our children may come in costume!

Purim is this Monday Night 3/9 at 7 PM! Come for one cool Megilla reading, live klezmer music with Klez Austin, a karaoke machine that will have us rocking into the wee hours, food, fun, children’s activities and so much more.

Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Parashah:

This week we read Parshat T’tzaveh, which among other things describes the vestments of the kohanim, the priests and especially the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest. The kohanim were to dress a certain way to enter the Sanctuary, in a manner befitting their status and role.

This Shabbat is also Shabbat Zachor, the Shabbat before Purim. On Purim, of course, we dress in costumes. The Megillah also speaks of costumes-Queen Esther dresses in her best to approach the king, as the kohanim dressed to come into the presence of God. Similarly, Mordechai is dressed in royal robes in the lead up to Haman’s downfall. Clothing and costume are not only linked to the Temple or to Purim. We too dress in particular ways for different occasions, especially for attending synagogue. We wear kippot and tallitot, on Shabbat we dress nicely and on the High Holidays we wear white. We may not be kohanim, but we too can dress ourselves to come into God’s presence. Shabbat Shalom.

Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe

Shabbat candle lighting time in Austin 6:16 PM

Scout Shabbat at Beth El

Please join us for a lovely dinner THIS Friday at 6:30 PM. We will have services, followed by a lovely dinner. You may see a few green or blue scout uniforms as we honor the Jewish scouts of Austin. All are welcome to join and we can’t wait to see you!

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Join us on Sunday 3/1 at 10 AM for Sunday school too!

Cantor –Yitzhak Ben-Moshe weekly message:

This week we read Parshat T’rumah, in which B’nei Yisrael are commanded to build a sanctuary. The Torah relates that God tells Moshe “And they shall build me a sanctuary and I will dwell among them.” Of course, we know that God cannot be contained in a tent or a building-the entire Universe can not contain God. The Mishkan was rather a focal point for the people and a symbol of God’s Presence. What could that mean to us, that God is present with us, dwelling among us? How should we act knowing that God is with us? Some things to think about as we come together in our sanctuary this Shabbat. Shabbat Shalom.