Congregation Tiferet Israel 

Austin, TX

7 Elul 5782 -- September 3, 2022

What's the Spiel?

Parshat Shoftim

Austin Community Eruv
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Tiferet Israel
PO Box 27254
Austin, TX 78755
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Membership Information

Would you like to become a member of a congregation that feels more like a family?

If so, contact Alana Pompa for more information at membership@tiferetaustin


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Rabbi's Reflections

-Judges and Officers: A Spiritual Call-

Parshat Shoftim coincides with the beginning of the Hebrew month of Elul, the last month in the Jewish year. According to our tradition, Elul is a time for serious soul-searching, honest self-reflection, and intense self-examination. In fact, the Sefer Toldot Adam teaches us that the word Elul is an acronym formed from the Aramaic translation of the Biblical verse, "Explore the land” (Bamidbar 13:2), meaning, Elul is a time intended for us to explore who we are. 

That being said, what is the connection between Elul, the month preceding Rosh HaShanah, the month which calls out to us, "Explore who you are," and Parshat Shoftim, a parsha which chiefly deals with administering a Jewish legal system, kingship and judicial authority? The answer lies in the first verse of our parsha. "Judges and officers shall you appoint for yourself in all your gates..." (Devarim 16:18). According to Rashi, the pshat (plain sense meaning) of the aforementioned verse is that once the Jewish people enter Eretz Yisrael, they must appoint judges whose function will be "to pass judgment," and officers, whose function will be "to impose authority over the people following the order [of the judges], with stick and strap until one accepts upon oneself the verdict of the judge." (Rashi on 16:18). Thus, we see that any functional judicial system requires two components: The commanding voice of the judge who speaks with authority and passes sentences, and the long arm of the officer who acts with authority, enforcing the judges' decrees. As Rebbe Eliezer notes in the Midrash Tanchuma, "Without an Officer there is no Judge."  

However, the great Chassidic master, the Maggid of Koshnitz, completely reinterprets this verse to be a message not about society, but about the individual; not about the outer, material world, but about the inner, spiritual world. In his Sefer Avodat Yisrael, he writes,


"You shall Appoint Judges and officers": [Parshat Shoftim] is always read during Chodesh Elul, a time designated and ripe with potential for each person to return to their Creator, that one's forgiven through a process of regret, remorse, thoughts of repair, [and] weeping...over one's sins...Hence the Torah cautions us, "Judges and officers shall you appoint"... [That is to say] each person must set for themselves Judges to judge oneself. This means that one must set one's sight to examine one's path in life, and to pave the path ahead. The ears, nose and mouth, indeed all the seven orifices of the head are called the "gates to the soul"...and these are the "gates" that our parsha speaks of, that one must judge oneself for all of one’s actions.


Not only must one appoint Judges at the "gates to the soul," but one should appoint Officers at the "gates to the soul" as well. The classic Chassidic thinker the Mei HaShiloach explains this point by noting that the Officers of one's being is the Will and Power or Energy, to abstain from that which is spiritually and physically damaging. In a spiritual sense, appointing Officers means that we enforce that which "our own Judge" decrees. In other words, it is not enough to know something is bad for you intellectually, or that something is wrong morally or halakhically. Rather, one should act upon that awareness, transforming implicit knowledge into lived reality. Thus, a functional judicial system not only requires both Judges and Officers out in society, but we require these two components in our inner worlds as well. 

May this Elul be a time of powerful personal growth -- growth in our spiritual and in our material endeavors, and may we take the first verse of our parsha to heart –  appointing Judges and Officers in our lives, to help us realize our healthiest, happiest, most authentic selves as we all take one step closer towards the Days of Awe. 


Shabbat Shalom!

- Rabbi Dan

Shabbat Morning Drasha: "A Jewish King: What is the Leadership We Seek?

Shabbat Afternoon Shiur: "Learning Tefillah with Rav Schwab: Adon Olam"

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 7:34 PM

Mincha/Kabbalat Shabbat

7:30 PM

Shabbat Morning


9:00 AM

Youth Service

  10:30 AM

Shabbat Afternoon/Evening


7:25 PM


8:28 PM



8:20 AM

Weekday Services

*Monday (Labor Day)*


Shacharit Tuesday - Friday

7:05 AM

CTI Announcements

Thank you Eric & Beth Shapiro for sponsoring Kiddush in honor of Beth's mother Renae Theda Peyser

As a service to the wider community, the Orthodox Union has researched various online platforms and has organized, collected and curated many key resources in one centralized location for your convenience. Please visit for a wide range of information covering the following areas: Adults, Leadership, Parenting, Seniors & Elders, Technology, Torah and Youth. Check back at as updates will occur regularly.

Visit for more information on how to join these exciting classes:

TYT Tuesday Night 

The Book of Judges

Tuesday 7:00pm

The Book of Judges teaches us about unexpected and underestimated spiritual and political leadership. Prior to the establishment of the Jewish monarchy, the nation was constantly enmeshed in fighting foreign enemies, spiritual and moral backsliding, oppression, as well as tribal in-fighting. It was a vicious cycle. The Judges came about in order to resolve these political, spiritual and moral issues and to set the people on the right track. Who were the Judges of Israel? How were they chosen, and why? While names like Shimshon, Devorah, Gidon and Yeftach may be familiar, their stories, complex personalities and murky legacies require a great deal of study. In this brand new TYT series, we will explore the life and times of the Judges of Israel – who they were, what they did, and what their contributions to Jewish history are all about. You won’t want to miss out on learning about these early leaders of the Jewish people, whose stories and personalities are as captivating as their contributions to the Jewish people are timeless. 

TYT Wednesday Mornings 

The Book of Jonah

Wednesday 8:15am

Come and join the TYT community and learn about the most "successful" Prophet in Jewish history, Jonah! Who was Jonah? Why did he seek to evade his spiritual responsibilities? Did he really think he could run away from God? What were his motivations, fears and concerns? Is his story literally true, or metaphorical? Is there even room in Judaism to read Biblical texts as metaphorical? If so, which texts, and why? In this class, we will explore the life and times of Jonah...and the whale, and come to a better understanding of his mission and why he features so prominently on the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur. You really don't want to miss out on a thorough "deep dive" into what is perhaps the most imaginative and enthralling book in the Tanakh! So join us at 8:15am on Wednesdays to find out more about this essential Prophet, whose lessons are as complex as they are eternal.

Questions? Suggestions? Interested in Volunteering? Please contact our Committee Chairpersons. 

Finance Committee: Larry Smith
Fundraising Committee: Daniel Ledeen
Bylaws Committee: Jay Rubin
Education Committee: Sarah Wander
Membership Committee: Alana Pompa
Chesed Committee: Lynn Kane
Kiddush Committee: Henna Tatham
Ritual Committee: Eric Shapiro
For those new to the community, check out this introductory video 
featuring Rabbi Dan and a few of our wonderful CTI community members! 


Stella Couch on September 3

Daniel Shapiro on September 5

AJ Gerstenhaber on September 6

Jonathan Sutter on September 6

Tayler Lonsdale on September 8


Arthur & Barb Altman on September 5


If you have any birthdays or anniversaries you would

like to add, please update your profile on our website.

Yahrzeit Remembrances

Irving Rosenberg, Father of Daniel Rosenberg, on Saturday 7 Elul

Renae Cohen, Mother of Beth Shapiro, on Sunday 8 Elul

Sondra Kaufman, Mother of Charles Kaufman, on Wednesday 11 Elul

Stanley Kaufman, Father of Charles Kaufman, on Friday 13 Elul

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 Jay Rubin, Marshall Humble, Eric Shapiro, and

Rabbi Belsky for their aliyah donations.

Thank you to Eric and Beth Shapiro their donation for the

kiddush in honor of Rabbi Belsky.

Thank you to Ben Heyen for his donation to the General Fund.

Thank you to Marty and Katie Price for their donation to the Rabbi's Discretionary Fund.

Thank you to Jan and Vicki Gould for their donation to the Torah Fund.

Thank you to Yosi and Mandi Mermelstein and family for their donation to the General Fund, and for a second donation to the Rabbi's Discretionary Fund.


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, by pressing "Make a Donation" in the sidebar, using the "Donate to CTI" button on the top left of this email, 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
  • 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
 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  

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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

Phone: 512-410-0336 ext 106

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