Beth El Second Night Passover Seder

Just a reminder that the Beth El Annual Second Night Seder is tonight at 6:30 PM. 
 Passover Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 859 6871 3636
 From Shereen and Hazzan Ben_Moshe:

Hag PesaSameah Beth El Friends,

We hope this finds everyone well and looking forward to the Festival of Freedom.  We hope that this will be the last time that we celebrate together virtually, and that next year will be, if not in Jerusalem, at least in person.  We pray that we will be able to gather with extended family, and together as a congregation for the second night of the holiday.  In any case, may our matzah be crisp, our knaidlach either fluffy or dense, as you prefer, our haroset sweet, and may we all enjoy old family recipes as well as new ones.  And of course, may we all remember and give thanks for our People’s liberation from bondage.  Hag Kasher v’sameah!

Here are some tips on how to prepare for Pesach:

Clean all hametz food items from the house-eat up/throw out/donate/put aside to be sold.
Clean the house, but not obsessively.  Dirt isn’t hametz!
Since Pesah begins on Saturday night, things are a little different.  B’dikat Hametz (searching for hametz) is done Thursday evening, and Bi’ur Hametz (burning hametz) is done on Friday, preferably by about 11:30AM.  Hametz may be eaten Friday evening and Saturday morning until 11:30-but it’s easier to eat kosher for Pesah food on Shabbat and use egg matzah (which can’t be used for the Seder) instead of bread.  If you do eat bread on Friday evening/Saturday morning, any leftovers should be put in the garbage or compost by 11:30.  The Seder should not begin until the end of Shabbat, 8:10PM at the earliest, and Kiddush includes the paragraph for Havdalah.
Join us for the 2nd Night Seder via Zoom:
We hope you will join us for this year’s interactive seder.
Getting ready for the evening:Prepare your dinnerPrepare your Seder plateSet your table (Elijah’s cup, candles, wine, pillows for reclining, Afikomen bag, matzah, matzah cover)Haggadah – bring your own or a copy of the Beth El Zoom Haggadah (included in this packet)Agenda for the evening – 6:30 pm 6:30 PM  Welcome & let the Seder begin!We will take a 30-minute break for dinner and then come back on to proceed with the Seder.Turn off your cameras or enjoy your dinner and chat with others who are also enjoying their dinner via Zoom.Seder resumesSing-a-long – join us for some of our favorite Pesah songs! 
We look forward to seeing you Sunday evening! 
Hag Kasher v’sameah from the Ben-Moshe household (Hazzan Yitzhak, Shereen, kids and dogs).

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!

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

Please join us tonight as we welcome Rabbi Peter Tarlow Rabbi Emeritus of Texas A&M and expert in security and tourism, as he delivers a special Dvar Torah!

BERS SUNDAY School parents please be sure to complete the following survey as soon as possible. candle lighting times in Austin 7:55 PM2020-2021 BERS Survey

We are excited to start the new school year soon and would love to have your input as we plan for this unique new school year. Please take a few minutes to respond if you are a BERS family. Thank you. Iris and Yosef

Here’s the amazing weekly parash from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks for your listening enjoyment! Hashavua Rabbi Peter Tarlow :The name of this week’s parashah is: “Re’eh”. You will find it in the Book of Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17. This section continues with Moses’ great summation speech emphasizing the fact that we all live with the potential to be positive (create blessings) or to be negative (create curses).The section begins with a strange Hebrew grammatical phrase: “Re’eh, Anochi noten lifnechem hayom brachah uklalah/See, I am giving you today (right now) a blessing(s) and a curse(s).” It is a strange sentence. Hebrew tends to emphasize sight much less then it emphasizes “hearing”. It is also not the style of Hebrew to begin a sentence with a word in the imperative mood (tzvui). Furthermore Re’eh is a singular command. We might have expected the verb to be Re’u, meaning see in the plural format. Usually when we find less common grammatical formats, we get a sense that the text is telling us much more than at first meets the eye. For example, is the singular command form indicating that the text is speaking to each one of us on an individual basis or does it see Israel, not as separate individuals but as a singular or collective entity? To add to the uniqueness of this sentence, the Bible then uses the continuous present tense (noten) rather than the more normative “va’natti” for “I give”. Hebrew rarely uses this tense. It is tense that indicates a sense of ongoing continuity. Is the text indicating that G-d never stops giving? Is the text teaching us that we are continuously confronted with opportunities to create good or to do evil, and the choice is ours?Is the text reminding us that we dare not be blind to life’s opportunities and to fail to see them is a curse we bring on ourselves? This week’s text reminds us that when things go wrong in our lives we need to begin to heal by asking ourselves: where did I fail? How did I not see the mistakes that I was making? What can I do differently to change the direction of my life?Once again Moses reminds us that Judaism is not to be a religion of submission or fatalism, but a religion that teaches us that we are G-d’s partners in life and it is we who must determine the quality of our life. This year has been a year of challenges. How have you faced the year’s many hurdles? Did you turn curses into blessings or only see crises and problems?Is the lesson of this week’s parashah the idea that to be an adult is to view the world through reality rather than make-believe? How many of us take the time to realize that there are blessings even when life seems harsh? How many of us know how to appreciate the blessings that come into our lives, and to realize that these are gifts of G-d that should not be taken for granted? Are you capable of being creative enough to see our challenges as opportunities to create new blessings?

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.