Congregation Tiferet Israel 

Austin, TX

28 Tevet 5783 -- January 21, 2023

What's the Spiel?

Shabbat Mevarchim - Parshat Vaera

Austin Community Eruv

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Rabbi's Reflections

-Just One Frog-

In this week's parshaParshat Va'eria, we learn about the first seven plagues to ravage Egypt. One of the most famous plagues to devastate the land and its people is the second plague – the plague of frogs, as it says, "Aharon stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frog ascended and covered the land of Egypt" (Shemot 8:2). Why does the Torah say, "the frog ascended" in the singular? Surely, many frogs came forth from the Nile to cover the land! The Talmud answers this question by recording a debate between Rebbe Elazar and Rebbe Akiva. "Rebbe Akiva said, 'There was one frog which filled the whole land of Egypt.' Rebbe Elazar ben Azariah said... 'One frog croaked for the others, and they came'" (B. Talmud, Sanhedrin 67b).  

According to Rebbe Akiva, the plague began with one, colossal frog overtaking the entire land, and according to Rebbe Elazar, the plague began with one frog calling out for all the others to join it. While this debate may seem entertaining, it actually provides us with a very important psychological insight into personalities and middot (character-traits). Sometimes, we meet people whose personalities and egos take up all the space in a room. Everyone's attention must be fixed on that individual at all times. This kind of person is so overwhelming that if they are unhappy, they make sure that everyone around them is unhappy as well. This is "the frog" according to Rebbe Akiva – a destructive personality which overpowers and incapacitates others because of the sheer size of their ego. Now, according to Rebbe Elazar, the frog which croaks and brings along others represents a dangerously charismatic personality which can persuade others to follow them in their evil designs to make everyone around them miserable. But whether we understand, "and the frog ascended," like Rebbe Akiva or like Rebbe Elazar, one thing is clear: the second plague began with just one individual frog, teaching us that it only takes one individual to bring devastation and despair to others.

This Shabbat, let us reflect on the symbolic meaning of the plague of frogs. There will always be people who, by means of their personalities, can devastate others. However, this Shabbat, let us identify those negative forces in our lives so that we may not lose heart and have strength when we next encounter them. This Shabbat, may we exhibit the opposite middot (character-traits) of the frog. Instead of being needy, let us be humble. Instead of being self-centered, let us be selfless. Instead of calling others to do evil, let us call others to do good. May we all learn the lesson of the frog: Destruction can begin with only one individual, but so can salvation. 

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 5:39PM

Mincha/Kabbalat Shabbat


Shabbat Morning


9:00 AM

Youth Services


Shabbat Evening








Weekday Services

Monday - Thursday



CTI Announcements


Sunday, January 22, 2023, 3:30p-5p

We are voting on the budget and need a quorum of 21 or more. Please join the board, Rabbi and other members to ask questions and learn what we are doing this next year. Your participation is important!

This meeting will be in person and zoom.

Members lookout for the zoom link in your email.

RSVP Here!
RSVP Here!
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:

It is with incredible excitement that I invite you to this year's 8th Annual IAC National Summit to be held right here, in Austin, at the beautiful Fairmont Hotel from Jan. 19-21st.

The IAC National Summit has become one of the largest, most influential, and most high-profile conferences in the Jewish world. Under the theme "Israel. Together." we will bring together   hundreds    of Israeli Americans, American Jews, and Israelis of all ages. The focus of this gathering will be Israel's 75th anniversary, which will be celebrated as a community this year.

We will be offering a few different shabbat experiences this year, including an orthodox service, a traditional conservative prayer service led by our own Agudas' Rabbi Neil Blumofe, a reform singing     meditations' prayer service, and a gathering of women shared with the women who travelled to Israel with Momentum.

This year we are also offering a unique opportunity for our singles! Bring your children/family members so that they can meet their basheret at our singles event.

Our own Shalom Austin CEO, Rabbi Daniel Septimus, is also a speaker at the summit.

The summit will officially begin at 3pm on Thursday, January 19th at the Austin Fairmont Hotel. Celebrating Israel's 75 years of innovation together with world renown speakers, political figures,   business leaders, artists, and musical performances.

You can register here! 

Please use the following code as an Austin community member and receive 10% off today! Code: ATX10

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 Eric & Beth Shapiro for sponsoring Kiddush in honor of Beth's special birthday and in loving memory of Eric's Bubby, Minnie Shapiro

Wow! Kiddush Sponsorships are filled up for January and February! Please sign up to sponsor Kiddush in March or April so we can all continue to enjoy Kiddush with our new expanded menus, 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! 


Fay Brener on January 23

Beth Shapiro on January 23

Jay Rubin on January 27


Diane & Charles Rubin on January 21

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

please update your profile on our website.

Yahrzeit Remembrances

Samuel Steiger, Father of Elaine Orent, on Thursday 4 Shevat

Minnie Shapiro, Grandmother of Eric Shapiro, on Thursday 4 Shevat

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 David Chapin and

Lon Cherryholmes for their Aliyah donations.

Thank you to Arthur Altman for his aliyah donation in honor of of Barb's efforts on the Shalom Austin AJA Operating Committee, and in honor of Beth Steinberg and Sam Glassman's new nephew Eben Chaim.

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

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