Congregation Tiferet Israel 

Austin, TX

18 Adar 5783 -- March 11, 2023

What's the Spiel?

Parshat Parah - Parshat Ki Tisa

Austin Community Eruv

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Rabbi's Reflections

-Looking for Stability in All the Wrong Places-

In this week’s parsha, Parshat Ki Tisa, the Jewish people do the unthinkable…they worship the Golden Calf. What could possibly compel a people who experienced the Exodus from Egypt firsthand to worship an idol? What force could possibly persuade the very nation who walked through the Sea on dry land to place their trust in the work of human hands? To help explain the unconscionable actions of the Jewish people, we must understand their fragile emotional state. According to the Talmud, while waiting at the foot of Mount Sinai for forty days, the Satan came and convinced the people that the reason why Moshe had not yet come down was because he had died (B. Talmud, Shabbat 89a). As a result of grappling with the loss of Moshe, the people turned to his brother, Aharon, and said, “Come, make us a god who shall go before us, for that man Moshe, who brought us up from the land of Egypt –we do not know what has happened to him” (Shemot 32:1). What are the Jewish people really asking for? Are they asking for a new “God,” or are they asking for something else? While the Sforno and others suggest that indeed, the Jewish people were looking for a new Divinity, the Ramban maintains, “They were seeking another Moshe. They said, ‘Moshe, who showed us the way from Egypt until here…is now lost to us! Let us make for ourselves another Moshe, who will show us the way according to the word of God.’ This is the explanation for mentioning [that they were lacking] ‘the man’ who brought us up and not ‘the god’ who brought us up, for what they felt they needed was a ‘man of God’” (Commentary of Shemot 32:1). Thus, the people felt driven to create the Golden Calf, not because they wanted a new God, or because they lacked faith in God, but because they wanted a new Moshe, a new leader to guide them. 

However, we must ask the question, “If the Jewish people desired a replacement for Moshe, why didn’t they ask Aharon to guide them? Why build an idol?” The Abravanel answers this question by saying, “They were afraid that [Aharon] would die like his brother. Therefore, they did not desire a person, born of woman, short in years and unpredictable. Rather [the people thought] a molten icon endures and remains, it will not withhold itself [from them] like a person who climbs mountains and travels from here to there like Moshe did, and [as a result] no one would know what could happen to him.” According to the Abravanel and the Ramban, the people never lost faith in God – they lost faith in humanity. Because they felt that Moshe, a man of flesh and blood had abandoned them, they wanted to make sure that their next leader would never perish, they wanted a permanent object to hold onto. But what’s more, they wanted something they could control. The whole reason behind the building of the Golden Calf had less to do with the people’s desire to betray God, and more to do with their feelings of being betrayed by a man. 

Now, in the end, the Jewish people’s actions were completely wrong and misguided, but now we can more deeply appreciate and understand their plight: people crave stability, and when that sense of stability is shaken, people will always look for it elsewhere, even to the limits of self-destruction, in order to find it. The sin of the Golden Calf is a sin from which the Jewish People have never fully recovered. Almost every national catastrophe that befell the Jewish people in ancient times has some element of this sin embedded within it. Nevertheless, now we can better comprehend the otherwise incomprehensible actions of our ancestors. The need to feel in control, to feel stable and secure can be overwhelming, and when we feel like our sense of stability is threatened, we search for it, sometimes in desperate, unhelpful ways.

This Shabbat, as we reflect on the sin of the Golden Calf, let us also reflect on the motivations that compelled our ancestors towards feeling like they needed it in the first place. This Shabbat, let us consider that feeling that we are cared for and looked after is a very powerful emotion, and sometimes, when we feel that security leave us, our better judgment may leave us as well.  So, let us learn an important lesson from our ancestors, that even though we may feel abandoned, bereft of hope in the moment, our greatest hope resides in the belief in God, and in the ultimate good in humanity to care for one another, to be there for one another, to always seek the best for our fellow and try our hardest to ensure safety and happiness for all. 

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 6:18PM

Mincha/Kabbalat Shabbat


Shabbat Morning


9:00 AM

Youth Services


Shabbat Evening








Weekday Services

Monday - Friday



CTI Announcements

Last Sunday, the students of CTI Scholars visited Westminster Senior Living Center to celebrate Purim. After performing a few songs, the students joined the residents for a game of Purim Trivia and Hamentaschen decorating. It was a fun, meaningful visit for the students and residents.

RSVP Here!
RSVP Here!

CTI is looking for a man or woman to serve as a backup shmira coordinator for when Larry Smith is out of town of otherwise unavailable. This involves a couple of hours of training to learn how to set up and manage shifts and communicate with the shomrim. Please contact Larry at 512-923-3964 or by email at if you are interested or would like more information.

If you are new to the community and want more information about Austin Shmira, here is a link to their website:

Purim Through the Decades was a swell time! A big thank you to Arthur and Barb Altman for sponsoring the delicious BBQ dinner. Thank you to everyone who helped make this spectacular event possible -- our Education, Events and Fundraising Teams: Emily Yaffe, Sarah Wander, Yael Millner, Meredith Clifford, Elizabeth Temerlin, Julie Van Keer and Patti Davis; Beth & Eric Shapiro for our Mishloach Manot; Myles Shaftel for taking photos; Adam & Elena Dollinger, Rita Chapin, Ben Heyen, Matt & Rebekah Ross, and Vicky Gould, and everyone else who volunteered.

CTI would also like to thank Mark Schiff and Pat Hazell for an amazing evening of laughter and learning! And Eric and Beth Shapiro for spearheaded this event along with Patti Davis, Sarah Church Carroll, Larry Smith, Alana Pompa and those who helped Thursday evening. 

2022 Tax Statements

Statements of 2022 Charitable Donations are being sent on request

only. If you need a statement, please send a request to Larry Smith


Sponsor Kiddush!

Sponsoring a Kiddush is a lovely way to honor a loved one on their birthday, for an anniversary, to commemorate a Yarhtzeit, or just because you want to help out the community! Please consider sponsoring a Kiddush in March or April, and give us the opportunity to thank YOU for 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! 


Lauren Greenberg on March 11

Etai Klein on March 11

Harold Liebowitz on March 16


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

please update your profile on our website.

Yahrzeit Remembrances

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 Solomon Sultan and Jay Rubin

for their aliyah donations.

Thank you to Michael and Jessica Singer

for their donation to the General Fund.

Thank you to Miriam Raviv for her donation

in honor of Carol Rubin.

Thank you Rick and Paz Goldberg for their

donation to the Rabbi Incentive Fund.

Thank you to Barb and Arthur Altman for their donation to the Youth Educator Fund in memory of Dr. Paul C. Weinberg z"l, father of Barb Altman.

Thank you to Mark Schiff for his donation in honor of Beth and Eric Shapiro.

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
  • Chandal bat Basia
  • Shmuel Dovid bat Malka
  • Anthony Ben Devorah
  • Shayna Leah bat Yehudit
  • Reuven ben Shira
  • Batyah bat Sara
  • Akiva ben Sara
  • Jake Wolfson

 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

Chesed Committee:

Jeanette Brickman

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