Congregation Tiferet Israel 

Austin, TX

30 Kislev 5783 -- December 24, 2022

What's the Spiel?

Chanukah - Rosh Chodesh Tevet - Parshat Miketz

Austin Community Eruv

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Rabbi's Reflections

-The Wisdom of Pharaoh: Yosef and Anti-Semitism-

Parshat Mikeitz describes the swift and spectacular rise of Yosef. Upon interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams with divine aid, confidence and clarity, Yosef is chosen by Pharaoh to be viceroy of Egypt and the official overseer of the land’s welfare for the foreseeable future. Suddenly, Yosef the outsider, Yosef the poor Hebrew slave-prisoner is invested with more power, authority, privilege and responsibility than anyone else in all of Egypt, save Pharaoh himself. Pharaoh installs Yosef by “removing his signet ring from his hand [and]…put it on Yosef’s hand; and he had him dressed in robes of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck. He had him ride in the chariot of this second-in-command…Thus he placed him over all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh said to Yosef, ‘I am Pharaoh; yet without you, no one shall lift a hand or a foot in all the land of Egypt’” (Bereshit 41:42-44).  What does Pharaoh mean when he tells Yosef, “Without you, no one shall lift a hand or a foot in all the land of Egypt?” (Ibid., 41:44). According to the Targum Onkelos, what Pharaoh meant was, “Without your permission, no man shall lift his hand to wield a sword or his foot to ride a horse in the entire land of Egypt.” Why does Pharaoh use such war-like imagery to describe Yosef’s new position?

It is a well-known anti-Semitic canard that Jews are disloyal to their state, and do not fight in its wars. Indeed, the very first expression of open, state-sponsored anti-Semitism in the Torah occurred when the Pharaoh during the Exodus story exclaimed, “See! The Israelite people are much too numerous for us. Let us deal shrewdly with them so that they may not increase; otherwise in the event of war, they may join our enemies in fighting against us…” (Shemot 1: 9-10). The question of Jewish loyalty, especially during times of war and civil unrest has been raised by numerous anti-Semitic regimes and individuals throughout history. From David’s denied request to fight alongside the Philistines to the Dreyfus Affair and the “Stab-in-the-Back” myth promulgated by the Nazi propaganda machine – that German Jews not only didn’t help defend Germany during the First World War, but sold it out to the Allies for personal gain – questioning Jewish loyalty during times of war has long been a hallmark for anti-Semites to cast the Jews as “others” in their own societies and spread the insidious notion that they pose a danger to the welfare of the state. 

Therefore, one could argue that the Pharaoh in the Yosef story was keenly aware of what appointing an outsider, a Jew, to the second highest position in the land might look like to his subjects. “Who is this Yosef? How could Pharaoh – the noblest of Egyptians, appoint a slave-prisoner, a nobody-Hebrew, to serve as protector of the greatest empire in the world?” But Yosef was too precious to Pharaoh – he needed him to succeed against all odds. Thus, based on the Targum Onkelos, Pharaoh told Yosef that “you are also in charge of the military. If war is to be made, it will be because you have declared it. Not only will you save Egypt from economic failure, but I will also charge you with saving Egypt from our enemies. If we go to war, you will lead the army!” Pharaoh seeks to identity Yosef with the military in order to dispel any thought that he has some ulterior motive in helping Egypt, and therefore, can’t really be trusted. Pharaoh is openly linking Yosef’s destiny, his very life, with the destiny and life of the Egyptian people, making it that much harder for Jew-haters to question Yosef’s loyalty to the state. Pharaoh knew he needed to save his nation. He knew Yosef was the man to do that. He also knew, that Yosef was a Jew, as it says, “A Hebrew youth was there with us…” (Bereshit 41: 12). Pharaoh needed to make sure Yosef would succeed, and by giving him command of the military, he sought to squelch any rumors that an “outsider was running Egypt and controlling the crown.” Yosef would now not only oversee the economic prosperity of Egypt, but the physical lives of its subjects during times of war as well. No one could ever doubt his loyalty to the state. 

On Monday afternoon, I attended the Chabad Menorah lighting ceremony at the State Capitol. Governor Abbott was there and spoke beautifully about Texas’ commitment to fighting anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activity in this State and beyond. As people were parting, I managed to get a moment with the Governor, and I told him that I had been on the border mission. People need to know that wherever sacrifices have been made and are being made, Jews were and are there too. A Jewish Star headstone at Arlington National Cemetery or at Normandy Beach fills us with Jewish pride and love for our people and our nation. But it also sends a message to others, especially those who would doubt our commitment, that “We were here too.” Pharaoh knew that Yosef needed to cement his place in Egyptian society, and the way to do that was to show them that just as he will lead us economically, he will bleed with us militarily as well – that Egyptian life isn’t about money to him, it’s about caring for and loving for every subject of his adopted nation – to the point that he would give his life for it.

The Pharaoh in the story of Yosef was a discerning ruler. He knew that in order for Yosef to succeed, he needed him to become one with his people. That being said, the deeper message of Yosef’s appointment sought to combat anti-Semitism by solidifying Yosef’s place in Egypt – as a protector of the people in every sense of the word. Jews have always been loyal citizens of their states. Jews have risen and will always rise to the call of the defense of their host nations – past, present and future. This Shabbat, let us reflect upon our responsibilities to our broader society, and that as Jews, we are not only citizens, but contributors and leaders to our larger communities in every respect, not just the military. By demonstrating our care and concern for all those around us, as proud Jews and as good neighbors, we not only sanctify the name of the Jewish people among the nations, we sanctify to Name of God as well. 

Shabbat Shalom,

-Rabbi Dan

Schedule of Services at B'nai Abraham

We encourage everyone to daven privately when unable to attend services. Use the private time to connect to Hashem. Public prayer definitely adds to our prayer experience. Yet we also have the capacity to create a profoundly meaningful private experience with the Divine. Let us seek such an experience in the coming days.  

Friday Night

Candle Lighting

No later than 5:17PM

Mincha/Kabbalat Shabbat

(at home due to weather)


Shabbat Morning


9:00 AM

**There will be no Shabbat Youth Services December 24, 31 or January 7**


(at home due to weather)


Shabbat Evening


(at home due to weather)


Sunday and Monday

*(Federal Holiday)*



Weekday Services

-Tuesday through Friday-



Mazal Tov!

CTI wishes to extend our most heart-felt mazal tov to our member, Malkah Esther Roth, on the birth of a new granddaughter, Sarah Liba! Mazal tov!

CTI Announcements

This past Sunday, the children of CTI Scholars had the opportunity to practice the mitzvah of Honoring Elders when we visited a senior living community. The children performed a play, sang a few songs, and delivered hand-made Chanukah gifts to the seniors. The students did a beautiful job, and the residents were very appreciative. It was a fun, special visit for everyone involved.

The CTI Chanukah party was a huge hit! There was plenty of delicious food, fun activities for the kids, opportunities to meet new people and spend time with old friends, and a performance by the CTI Scholars students. It was beautiful lighting the menorah as a community and hearing the meaningful Dvar Torah from Rabbi Dan. Thank you to Elizebeth Temerlin, Rebekah and Matthew Ross, Julie Van Keer, Benjamin Heyen, Rita Chapin, Elena Dollinger, Emily Yaffe, and everyone for making this year's Chanukah party the best ever!

Food Drive!

We are hosting a Food Drive to support the Shalom Austin Jewish Family Service Food Pantry! Unopened, unexpired, non-perishable food items can be brought to the shul Sunday-Friday and dropped in the black bin with the JFS Food Pantry sign. New, unopened personal hygiene items - like shampoo, diapers, and toothbrushes - are welcome, too.

The JFS Food Pantry serves those in need in the Jewish community and beyond here in Austin.

Sponsor Kiddush!

Thank you to Jan & Vicky Gould for sponsoring Kiddush in honor of Rabbi Millner, the Gabbaim and Baaleh Kriah who beautifully lead our services each week.

Give us the opportunity to thank YOU for kiddush! We have kiddush sponsorships available in December and January. Please help keep the cholent coming and sign up to sponsor an upcoming kiddush. 

Sponsor a Kiddush


Click Here! for more information on how to join these exciting classes:

Torah Classes at CTI!

Take Your Tanakh Series

TYT Tuesday Night - The Book of Judges

Tuesday 7:00pm

TYT Wednesday Mornings - The Book of Job

Wednesday 8:15am

For those new to the community, check out this introductory video 
featuring Rabbi Dan and a few of our wonderful CTI community members! 


Ester Smith on December 24

Hana Refaeli on December 26

Aaron Jackson on December 26


Jeanette & Lowell Brickman on December 30

Daniel & Natalie Ledeen

on December 30

If you have any birthdays or anniversaries you would like to add,

please update your profile on our website.

Yahrzeit Remembrances

Louis Shapiro, Grandfather of Eric Shapiro, on Wednesday 4 Tevet

Solomon Slomovic, Father of Marta Shaftel, on Friday 6 Tevet

May their souls be bound up in the bond of life.

If you have a Yahrzeit that you would like the congregation to acknowledge, or if you have a correction that needs to be made, please update your profile on our website.


Thank you to our anonymous donors.

Thank you to Eddie Selig, Jake Wolfson, and Jay Rubin for their aliyah donations.

Thank you to Steven Swernofsky for his

donation to the general fund.

Thank you to Julie Van Keer for her

donation to the general fund.

Thank you to Marshall and Sandy Sack

for their donations in honor of the Kanes'

new grandbaby, and a refuah shleimah

for David Chapin.

We encourage you to use electronic payments by credit card or eCheck through CTI's website at when fulfilling the mitzvah of giving Tzedakah to mark family events and milestones, including Yahrzeits, and in honor of CTI and our community. 


Spiel sponsorships are now available for a donation of $18. Advertise your business or dedicate an issue of the spiel in memory of a loved one or to celebrate a Simcha.

Contact admin for more details. 

Donations can be made via our website at or by sending your check to:

Tiferet Israel P.O. Box 27254, Austin, TX 78755. Please make check payable to Tiferet Israel and please indicate what the donation is for. 

Refuah Shelayma to: 
  • Allene Novy-Portnoy; Hannah Bassa bat Sarah Osnat 
  • Avshalom ben Hannah Bassa
  • Cindy Newman 
  • Janet Goldberg; Shayna Masha bat Chasha Mina
  • Ken Friedman
  • Rebecca Millner; Rivkah bat Shoshana
  • Sheina Ruchel bat Henya Leah
  • Tzvi David ben Rivka Golda
  • Yoel Simcha ben Chaya Risha 
  • Sulta bat Nedgma
  • Zvi Aharon ben Bayla
  • Yaira bat Sarah
  • Tamar bat Chaya
  • Ilana bat Gheita
  • HaRav Avram Meir ben Eli Yosef v'Shira Chanah.
  • Rabbi Harold Liebowitz, Ha Rav Chaim Alter ben Necha. 
  • Baruch Akiva Ben Rivka
  • Miriam bat Helen
  • Rivka Michal bat Sarah Chana
  • Lori Garza 
  • Yisroel Natan ben Sarah
  • Masha Gitil bas Chaya Yita
  • Allen Levinson; Avraham Yitzchak ben Gittel
  • Moshe ben Reizel
  • Sandra Freed
  • David Chapin
  • Shoshana bat Yocheved
  • Miriam bat Rachel v'Mordechai
  • Alta Shoshana bat Shulamit
  • Meir Psachia ben Tziril
  • Geni Berman Abitbol
  • Beilya Golda bat Leah
  • Yosef Yehoshua ben Sarah
  • Jonathan Malawer (Yosef ben Bracha)
  • Bowie Alarcon
  • Fivel ben Sarah HaLevi
  • Adam ben Chanah
  • Rafael ben Sheindal Leah
  • Aharon Asher ben Chaya Naomi
  • Esther Malka Fraida bat Serel Chaya Raiza
  • Kalev Boaz Chai ben Aliza
  • Esther Reva bat Malka
  • Avraham ben Rut
  • Peter Janson, Fievel ben Devorah
  • Sheva Eva bat Bella.
  • Dorit Iken, Dorit Chana bat Orah
  • Moshe ben Rut
  • Shulkah Malka bat Tziporah
  • Yehudit bat Sara
  • Chandal bat Basia
  • Shmuel Dovid bat Malka
  • Anthony Ben Devorah
  • Shayna Leah bat Yehudit
  • Reuven ben Shira
  • Batyah bat Sara

 Wishing all Cholei Yisrael a Refuah Shlayma. 

Dear Tiferet Friends, 

If you placed a name on the Refuah Shelayma list and G-d willing the person is well, 

please let us know. Also, if you have a friend or family member who needs 

prayers for healing, again please let us know at  

Using the CTI Website

Logging in is easy via the login button at the top of the web page. Your login ID is your email address. Once logged in, many of the fields are pre-filled for you, to make it easier and quicker to register for an event or make a donation.

But that's not all! You will also have access to the online Member Directory, the CTI Bylaws, the minutes of Board meetings and the President,Treasurer and Rabbi Reports and other documents, all under the Resources tab. With more coming all the time!

If you have any questions or comments about the website, please contact our webmaster at

Contact Us!

On the web:


Dan Millner: 

Phone: 512-410-0336 ext 101


Alana Pompa:  

Phone: 512-410-0336 ext 102

Vice President:

Sarah Wander 


Chuck Kaufman,


Sarah Church Carroll 

Phone: 512-410-0336 ext 103


Larry Smith  

Phone: 512-923-3964


Alana Pompa 

Phone: 512-410-0336 ext 106

Kiddush Committee:

Beth Shapiro

Youth Educator:

Emily Yaffe

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