Congregation Tiferet Israel 

Austin, TX

23 Kislev 5783 -- December 17, 2022

What's the Spiel?

Parshat Vayeshev

Austin Community Eruv

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Rabbi's Reflections

-The Descent of Yehudah: Accountability in Leadership-

In this week's parshaParshat Veyeshev, the brothers of Yosef conspire to kill him and finally be rid of the bothersome youth - his personality and predictions, once and for all. However, after Reuven convinces the brothers not to kill him, but to throw him into a pit instead, Yehudah has a bright idea after spying a caravan of Ishmaelites traveling towards them, saying, "What gain will there be if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let our hand not be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh" (Bereshit 37:27). 

Many Torah commentators want to understand what Yehudah's true motivations were for making such a proposal. While the Radak interprets Yeudah's suggestion through a merciful lens – that selling Yosef would mean that he would indeed live, the Sforno, understands Yehudah's words as a means of achieving justice, writing, "This would be an appropriate measure for measure punishment for [Yosef]; he wanted to make slaves of us, but now he himself will become a slave!" While we cannot know the exact motivation behind Yehudah's proposition, we do know the very real and tragic consequences it had on Yaakov, as it says, "All his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted... And his father cried for [Yosef]" (Bereshit 37:35). 

Upon seeing the terrible impact Yehudah's decision had on Yaakov, the Torah tells us, "It was at that time that Yehudah went down from his brothers..." (Ibid. 38:1). What is the connection between Yaakov's reaction to the loss of his son and Yehudah's decent? According Rashi, Yehudah's decent was not only geographical – physically relocating away from his family, it was also emotional, writing, "Yehudah's brothers took him down from his greatness when they saw the distress of their father. They said, 'You said to sell him. Had you said to return him, we would have listened to you!" Yehudah had great sway over his brothers, more than any other. They listened to him, they respected and admired him. When he suggested they sell Yosef, "His brothers listened" (Ibid. 37:27).  As their leader, the brothers took their direction from Yehudah, they hung their successes on him, but also their failures. Thus, when the brothers saw how Yehudah's decision emotionally and spiritually destroyed their father, they blamed their leader. Yehudah lost all credibility and esteem in their eyes, as they blamed him for their father's pain, and basically forced him to leave (K'tav Sofer, Parshat Vayeshev 166).


People in leadership positions are entrusted to seek the welfare of the ones they are charged to look after. As their leader, Yehudah did not foresee the long-term consequences of his hasty decision. Yehudah was thinking only of the moment. He did not consider how Yosef's absence would adversely impact his father or his brothers. Yehudah gave into the hysteria of the hour, that is, the impulse to harm Yosef, and as a result, he destroyed his father's life and the stability of the household as a whole. While it is true that all of the brothers shared the burden of responsibility for the abduction and sale of Yosef, Yehudah, as their leader, was ultimately held responsible for the actions of those whom he instructed, and he learned this lesson in the hardest way possible -banished from his home, disgraced and alone. It would not be until many years later that Yehudah would redeem himself, selflessly acting to reunite his family, and rectify the historic wrong of his own making. 


This Shabbat, let us learn from the sad story of Yehudah. As leaders in our community, we are all held to a higher standard. Others look to us to show them the way. It is up to us to set an example for others to follow. Giving into emotion and the mania of the moment will not enable us to better lead. Rather, it can have the opposite effect, bringing us and those we care about down. May we always consider our decisions and suggestions wisely. May we always think about the long-term consequences of our actions and instructions, and may we always seek to do the right thing, which often times, may not be the popular or comfortable thing. The story of Yehudah, in this instance, serves as a stark admonition that with great power comes great responsibility, and that if we have been entrusted to lead, we should always seek to lead based on that sacred trust. 

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 5:14PM

Mincha/Kabbalat Shabbat


Shabbat Morning


9:00 AM

Children's Services


Mincha (After Kiddush)


Shabbat Evening

Maariv/ Havdalah (At Home)





Weekday Services




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

CTI Announcements

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.

On Monday night, women of the CTI community gathered for our monthly Shmooze n' Study event. We spent the time learning about the heroines of Chanukah: Yehudit, who valiantly beheaded the oppressor Holofernes, and Chana, whose story of steadfast faith is inspirational and heartbreaking. We also dove into the history of the holiday, and of course spent plenty of time noshing and shmoozing! We hope you'll join us for the next event on Monday, January 29!   

RSVP Here!

Thank you to Adam & Elena Dollinger for sponsoring Kiddush in honor of their 4th wedding anniversary and the birthdays of both Gabrielle and Naysa Dollinger.

Sponsor Kiddush!

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! 


Reese Carroll on December 17


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 Gary Gerstenhaber, Marshall Humble, and David Chapin for their aliyah donations.

Thank you to David Chapin for his donations to the general fund in honor of the daily minyanim.

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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