Beth El Blast Yizkor Sunday & April events

Tonight’s Friday evening services will begin at 7 PM. Zoom and in person.No Sunday school, but please join us this Sunday at 11 AM for Yizkor – in person or via zoom using the Friday night link. Friday Night Zoom


Cantor Ben-Moshe’s Weekly Message: This Shabbat is the seventh day of Pesah, the day on which we read the story of the Crossing of the Sea of Reeds. B’nei Yisrael burst into song when they saw their enemies destroyed and knew that they were truly freed from Egypt. Since there was no Shabbat Hol Hamo’ed, Intermediate Shabbat of Pesah, we read another song as well-Shir Hashirim, the Song of Songs. The obvious connection to Pesah is that the Song describes spring in Eretz Yisrael. But on a deeper level, the love poetry corresponds to the love story, as it were, between God and the People of Israel. The prophet Jeremiah referred to this period when B’nei Yisrael first went into the wilderness as their honeymoon with God. Jeremiah recalls that love as an example for the Jewish People of his day-may it be for us as well. Shabbat Shalom u’Mo’adim L’Simhah.

השבת , בשביעי של פסח, אנו קוראים את פרשת קריטת ים סוף. כשראו בני ישראל את צבא מצריים טובע בים, והבינו שהם באמת חופשיים. אנחנו קוראים גם בשבת הזאת את שיר השירים, שמתאר את האביב בארץ, אבל הוא גם סיפור אהבה, שחז״ל השוו לאהבה התריה בין ה׳ לעם ישראל. שבת שלום ומועדים לשמחה.

No BERS Sunday school due to the Passover Chag – day eight. Please join us the rest of April! Thank you to all who helped with the second Second Night Seder via zoom. We had a blast and enjoyed hearing Logan sing the four questions! Yesher koach to him, the Hazzan, Shereen, Yosef and all who helped.Thank you to our amazing Mitzvah Makers who made delicious matzah ball soup and delivered it to those in need. Do you know that we even had a family that was stuck in Austin over Passover and needed Hagadoth, a seder plate, grape juice and soup and were so unbelievably grateful that they found a congregation in a new and unfamiliar city that was able to help them celebrate Passover. That’s the kind of shul we are all proud to call our Jewish Home!

Parashat Shoftim – Sunday School Starting!

Shabbat shalom, chodesh Elul tov, and see you at 7 PM. 

The name of this week’s parshah is Shoftim, or in English, “Judges”. While the parshah deals with a few topics, the main focus is on courts of law that are to be established once the People of Israel settle in the Land. Of particular interest is the rule that no one may be sentenced to death-or indeed for any other offense-on the testimony of one witness. Two witnesses are needed to obtain a conviction in a criminal case. The Sages expanded upon this-they taught that the two witnesses had to be persons of unimpeachable moral character, that they had to witness the actual commission of the crime, and moreover had to warn the perpetrator in advance that he was about to commit a capital offense. Under these conditions, of course, a death sentence would be practically impossible. The Rabbis were of the opinion that the death penalty, while prescribed in the Torah, was so repugnant that it was to be avoided at almost all cost. Our Tradition holds that there is only One Judge who has the power over life and death. As we enter the month of Elul, the month of preparation for Yom Hadin, the Day of Judgement, let us remember who the True Judge really is. Let us not judge our fellow humans harshly. And while this is a time of reflection and self-assessment, let us not judge ourselves harshly, either. Rather, let us trust in the judgement of God, who is as Moshe said, “a compassionate and merciful God, patient and abounding in loving kindness and truth”. Shabbat Shalom and Hodesh Tov.Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe

Beth El Shines this summer – and Camp for your Kids

Shabbat Shalom and we so look forward to seeing you all tonight at 7 PM via zoom (SEE ZOOM LINK BELOW) and in person in our beloved shul (no more than 10 people following social distance).

Hazzan Ben-Moshe’sWeekly Message:This week we conclude the Book of Numbers, Sefer B’midbar, with the combined parshot of Mattoth and Mas’ei. We also announce the beginning of the month of Av, about which our Sages said “When Av enters, joy decreases”. The month of Av is the month in which the First and Second Temples were destroyed, and according to tradition many other calamities befell the Jewish People. However, Av is also the month of T”U B’Av, the festival celebrating the beginning of the grape harvest in the Land of Israel. Furthermore, Tradition says that Tish’ah B’Av, the Fast of the Destruction, will also be the day on which the Messiah will come and our final redemption and return home to Israel. May our redemption come soon, and our mourning turn to celebration. Shabbat Shalom.Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe

Candle lighting in Austin at 8:16 PM.

Sunday school resumes in the fall! Whether we are in person or via zoom, the learning, ahavat Israel and friendships continue. Please contact us asap to reserve your spot!

Looking for the coolest in person Summer camp for your children (preschool to middle school) – Check out J Camps!

Community News:
Green Team at TBS invites Beth El to a Movie Discussion: A Plastic Ocean
Monday, August 10
7:00 p.m.
Join A Plastic Ocean documentary producers and fellow Green Team members to discuss this important movie. In advance of our discussion, you can watch the movie on Netflix, iTunes, or YouTube. RSVP to Christy Esmahan at:

Beth El can now accept donations of stocks through a brokerage account. Please contact our treasurer at

Please consider at tax deductible donation for via our secure site. Being a small synagogue, every dollar goes to good work and continuing our heritage.

Annual Meeting and State of the Shul

Shabbat Shalom and we so look forward to seeing you all tonight at 7 PM via zoom (SEE NEW ZOOM LINK) and in person in our beloved shul (no more than 10 people).

Happy Birthday USA!

Hazzan Ben-Moshe’sWeekly Message:This week we read two parshot-Hukkath and Balak. The time of wandering in the wilderness is coming to an end, and the conquest of the Land is set to begin. Parshat Hukkath begins with the laws of the Red Heifer, the sacrifice that was to bring purification from contact with the dead. The Torah instructs us that anyone who comes in contact with a dead person is to undergo purification rituals for a week before rejoining the community (obviously, this no longer holds true in our time, as we have no Temple, and the rituals have fallen into abeyance). Interestingly, one group which was to undergo such rituals was warriors. Victorious soldiers returning from the field of battle could not triumphantly parade through the camp, but had to isolate themselves for a week. Whether intended or not, this would have had the effect of reducing the glorification of war and warriors. Jewish Tradition from its onset has held that war may sometimes be a necessary evil, but is not to be celebrated, and while we may be happy that a threat is removed, we do not delight in the death of our enemies. We believe that all human life, created in the Divine Image, is holy. Some of our enemies have stated that their disregard for life is their strength-but it is our reverence for life that is the strength of our People. Shabbat Shalom.Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe

Candle lighting in Austin at 8:18 PM.

Annual Meeting July 12Also, save the date. Our annual “state of the shul” meeting will be held on Sunday, July 12, at 7:00 p.m.

The meeting will be in person (up to 10) at the shul and via zoom.Annual Meeting Zoom Link:

We plan to discuss shul business and elect officers for the upcoming year. To nominate a current member as an officer, please send an email to Bob Miller, secretary and chair of the nominating committee at

Nominations should be submitted as soon as possible and no later than 7 days before the board meeting. The meeting is open to all – they are always a great deal of fun and very inspiring. We are blessed to be part of this small, yet vibrant and truly chesed filled congregation.

Our next Pirkei Avot class is July 14!
Zoom Meeting Link:

Save the Date. Let’s have a fun afternoon at Town Lake this summer, where each family rents a canoe or kayak, or brings their own one from home, and enjoys each other’s company together. The prefect Social Distance event. Please RSVP to

Beth El can now accept donations of stocks through a brokerage account. Please contact our treasurer at

Please consider at tax deductible donation for via our secure site. Being a small synagogue, every dollar goes to good work and continuing our heritage.

Mitzvah Makers

Hi all. Thanks to those of you who visited our website last week: We need people to click and stay for a bit. It is a fairly new website, so the more traffic it has, the easier it will be for folks to find our sweet and small shul when they are searching Google. Check out the videos, and share the website with friends. NOW FOR SOME NEWS YOU CAN USE!Shabbat Shalom and we so look forward to seeing you all tonight at 7 PM via zoom. Please know that we are going back to having a combination of in person and zoom services next week, according to all the health and safety guidelines from the City Of Austin. Please let us know if you are interested in attending in person services. ID: 847 168 183Password: 010620Hazzan Ben-Moshe’sWeekly Message:This week’s parshah, B’ha’aloth’kha, begins with the commandment to make a menorah, a lamp with seven bowls, which is to be lit every night by the Kohanim. This is the Ner Tamid, the Eternal Light. There was always supposed to be light in the Sanctuary, and the priests were responsible for seeing that it stayed lit. This is the last part of the Torah reading on the eighth day of Hanukkah. As a “Kingdom of priests and a holy People”, we are metaphorically responsible for keeping the light kindled. The light which we are to spread is the light of Torah-and especially now, when we see darkness around us, we should spread that light. It is the light of love for all of our fellow humans, without exception. We should do live our lives that we teach Torah-which shares the same root in Hebrew as “or”, light-with our every word and our every action. May God’s light shine through us always. Shabbat Shalom.Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-MosheCandle lighting in Austin at 8:12 PM.Thank you to our amazing Mitzvah Makers Claudia, Sabrina, Frankie, and Shelley for lovingly baking and delivering challah this week. Please let us know if you would like fresh challah on Fridays – we are doing this all summer! Also, also let us know if you would like to help make, or deliver challah. All social distancing guidelines are being followed meticulously. And a huge thank you to our awesome children Mitzvah Maker for making and sending such gorgeous letters to folks in our community! Such acts of chesed make us so proud of our sweet Sunday school children. Here are our beloved Doris and Herschel saying thank you on our zoom services last week.\Sisterhood Book Club via zoom Sunday June 21 (NEW DATE) at 7 PMWe will also be starting a Jewish ethics class this summer inspired by Pirkei Avot (The Ethics of our Sages). The first class is June 16!Join Zoom Meeting the Date. Let’s have a fun afternoon at Town Lake this summer, where each family rents a canoe or kayak and enjoys each other’s company together. The prefect Social Distance event. GONE…..BUT NOT…… Part 3by Jared Brudnohe last thing I wanted to do was to get involved in another major construction project. Gracie and I had talked about that the last major house construction project we were involved in for three years was our last one. So much for that. The house we bought needs some work. Not a lot, but it will take some time. But as I got started on the work I became enthusiastic about it. Fifteen years ago because of various problems I’ve caused in my life, I didn’t have much. I didn’t have any tools, and I hadn’t been involved in carpentry at the level that I like in quite a while. Now I have more tools and equipment than I’ve ever had, and more ability and enthusiasm for the talent that Hashem has given me than ever. The work we did at Beth El was a major part of that journey. I had an immediate family but I didn’t have an extensive one like I do now since marrying Gracie and attending Beth El. Gracie also wanted to return to her hometown for many reasons like family, the beach, the culture. I grew to like Brownsville after our many visits here, and when Gracie began to really pursue living here I thought it was a good idea. I really liked the calmer atmosphere and universally friendly people here. The reality of that initial excitement faded a bit once I realized how much work it would be and all the what if’s along the way. In the course of her looking for a house I began to notice a fair amount of historical restoration going on here, something I’ve been heavily involved in in years past and really love. For many reasons Brownsville is beginning to revive. it was kind of on the down slide when we first began to visit 10 to 12 years ago. Historical restoration has always been how I want to use my experience and talents. I love old stuff. I love making stuff by hand. Old stuff speaks to me about the past and the people of the past and the best part of culture and values of the past. I love the way old things were made with such fine quality with skilled hands. I can be terminally nostalgic at times. Those are some reasons I love being a Jew. Our antiquity is filled with nothing but the finest quality. Our Torah is made physically and spiritually created in the finest unparalleled manner by the finest Creator and craftsman. Just the physical act of making and scribing a Sefer Torah fascinates me. Of course the craftsmanship of our Creator has no equal. I hope to be involved in some of the historical restorations projects here.Gracie and I are on our way to Israel as soon as that becomes possible. Even though our journey has taken us 350 miles south instead of 6000 miles east, moving to Brownsville is on the road to there. Our house is about 2000 sq. ft. It has a small apartment which is separate from the house but attached to it. That gives us the opportunity to leave the main house with Raul and Gracie’s dad and for us to have our own private place so we can come and go as we please. The care that Gracie’s dad needs is even better here for many reasons. He’s eligible for 750 hours of Respite Care which would allow us a little more freedom and give him what he needs. Once we are hopefully approved to make Aliyah then we have a place for caregivers to stay or to rent or for us to return to on occasion.Brownsville historically had a thriving Jewish community. As is so true with smaller cities this is not so true today. However, one again antiquity speaks for itself. The house we bought is just a few blocks from the original Orthodox shul here. This neighborhood used to be full of Jews. I see some of the older houses and imagine perhaps who of our nation built it and used to live there. The original Orthodox synagogue here was interestingly enough named Beth El. it is now since moved and transitioned over the years into a reform congregation. South Padre Island has an Orthodox shul called interestingly enough on a personal level Shoova Yisrael. Return Israel. How appropriate considering Gracie’s and my return to Judaism and Raul and Dad’s return to Brownsville. It’s a congregation of mostly Israeli businessmen serving the tourist trade on the Island. We’ve been there a few times and have always been welcomed warmly. Interestingly enough the Rabbi there is from Tveria and lives a few blocks from the house we rented a few years ago there. I met him a while back and he really made us feel at home. He’s only there certain time of the year. His wife’s family is from Mexico. For us it’s just like spending Shabbat in Israel including the food. So our 350 mile journey south is more on the way of our 6000 mile journey east than we could have expected.