Congregation Tiferet Israel 

Austin, TX

 18 Cheshvan 5783 -- November 12, 2022

What's the Spiel?

Parshat Vayera

Austin Community Eruv
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Tiferet Israel
PO Box 27254
Austin, TX 78755
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Rabbi's Reflections

-We are Yitzchak: Who's Laughing Now?-

Parshat Vayera teaches us that after years of being told they would have a son, Avraham, now one hundred years old and Sarah, now ninety, finally see that promise come to pass. And when the boy is born, Sarah exclaims, “God has brought me laughter. Everyone who hears will laugh ‘Li’” (Bereshit 21:6).

The word "Li" can be read in two different ways. Either, "Everyone who hears will laugh with me," which is how many commentators understand her words. That is to say, everyone who hears that Avraham and Sarah actually have a son will be so happy they'll be unable to restrain expressing their joy along with the gushing parents. The people will celebrate with them, they'll sing with them, they'll laugh in elation with them: "Everyone who hears will laugh with me." Or, the word “Li” can be read according to its more common usage: "Everyone who hears will laugh at me." Laughing with someone and laughing at someone are two entirely different things. The horrible realization that you were being laughed at when you thought you were being laughed with conjures up some of our worst social fears – from childhood to adulthood. So, let's explore the latter interpretation’s deeper meaning. What does it mean that Sarah thinks people will laugh at her for having Yitzchak?

According to Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, "The world knew of the ambitions of Avraham and Sarah, those two rare individuals who dared to swim against the tide of the times. The world knew of their daring hope of ultimately stemming this mighty stream and turning it in another direction. And now, yet another absurd ambition: to graft this daring hope onto a late-born, tender sapling! Should it surprise us that our ancestors' contemporaries, when looking at the cradle of the Jewish people, could not repress a mocking smile? To this very day, people – who in reckoning about historical events and world affairs assign no place to God – jeer and mock at the world-embracing, world-historic Jewish people. From the very beginning, we, the Jews, have been put in this position. The first Jewish son was called Yitzchak, and we will continue to be called by this name until the hopes founded on God's providence and promises are fulfilled" (Commentary on Bereshit 21:6).

You see, it's not so much that Sarah was afraid that people would laugh at her, a ninety-year-old woman bearing a child. What Sarah was really expressing was something so much deeper – this child represents how others in the world will view the Jewish people – this small group of people, this small band of outcast dreamers who have consistently defied every statistic, every obstacle, every expectation and every barrier that has ever stood in their way. Those who would laugh at Sarah would laugh at the thought of the establishment of a Jewish State in 1948. Those who would laugh at Sarah would laugh at Israel's miraculous contributions to the world, in technology, science, medicine, art and agriculture. Those who would laugh at Sarah would laugh at the success of the Jewish people as a whole, despite anti-Semitism, crusades, pogroms, inquisitions, and yes, a genocide. Those who would laugh at Sarah could never believe that the desert could bloom and that dry bones could rise from the ground. A cynical, skeptical, antagonistic attitude towards the Jewish people was born with the birth of Yitzchak. But here's the thing! It is our holy, unending task to help the nations of the world understand that all that we have overcome and achieved is only because of God's Will, providence and help. It is God, not us, Who makes the impossible possible. And perhaps this is why we read this very story on Rosh HaShanah, because Rosh HaShanah is all about making God King over all creation. As Jews, we are the instruments through which the world can know that God exists, and that His providence extends over all. As the story goes, a king once asked his prime minister, "How can I know that God exists?" The prime minister replied, "The Jews, your majesty, the Jews!" We, the Jewish people, show the world what is possible because of God. 

There will always be those who laugh at us. There will always be those who scoff and mock us – individuals, leaders and even international bodies, people invested with the highest earthly authority, because the Jewish people consistently show them the reality that God is King, and they are not. But, as King David writes, “Then our mouths will be filled with laughter” (Psalm 126:2). The day will come when all the world will laugh together. It will not be the laughter of derision, but the sweet laughter of joy and genuine fellowship. Our hope, our Jewish hope, is that as we strive to crown God King over creation every day, we feel worthy enough to serve as His ambassadors to the world to spread the idea that all is possible with the help of God. We, as Jews, serve as that model to the world, and we pray that others will accept His sovereignty upon themselves as well, enabling all humanity to realize that through His people, God makes all things possible. 

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 5:18PM

Mincha/Kabbalat Shabbat


Shabbat Morning


9:00 AM

Youth Service

 10:30 AM

Shabbat Evening


5:10 PM


6:14 PM




Weekday Services




CTI Announcements

RSVP Here!

Please Join us for a Special Kiddush

Saturday, November 19, 2022


CTI will sponsor a special Kiddush lunch after Shabbat Services

in honor of Henna Tatham and in memory of Bob Tatham, z’l.

With heartfelt gratitude we honor them for their years of hard work and dedication to our community.

RSVP Here!

Sponsor Kiddush!

We have kiddush sponsorships available for the fall - please help keep the cholent coming and sign up to sponsor an upcoming kiddush.

Sponsor a Kiddush

Visit 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 Jonah

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! 


Jeffrey Van Keer on November 13

Jacob (Jack) Clifford on November 14

Kimberly Pack-Cosme on November 15


Reese Carroll & Sherry Fishman-Carroll on November 18

If you have any birthdays or anniversaries you would

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

Yahrzeit Remembrances

Alex Sole, Father of Diane Radin, on Thursday 23 Cheshvan

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 Rick Goldberg, Reese Carroll, Arthur Altman, Solomon Sultan, and Reb Ezra Weinberg for their aliyah donations.
Thank you to Healy Smith for her donation In Honor of Henna Tatham.
Thank you to Marty and Katie Price for their donation to the General 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
  • Moshe ben Reizel
  • Sandra Freed
  • 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  

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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


Alana Pompa 

Phone: 512-410-0336 ext 106

Kiddush Committee:

Beth Shapiro

Youth Educator:

Emily Yaffe

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