Congregation Tiferet Israel 

Austin, TX

27 Shevat 5783 -- February 18, 2023

What's the Spiel?

Shabbat Mevarchim - Shabbat Mevarchim - Parshat Shekalim

Austin Community Eruv

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Rabbi's Reflections

-Story and Law: Equal Parts of the Jewish Soul-

Parshat Mishpatim stands out as the first parsha in the Torah to express itself through the language of law rather than narrative. Prior to our parsha, the Torah teaches us through stories – from the account of Creation, the Avot and the Imahot, to the Exodus. Yet in Parshat Mishpatim, we cannot help but sense a sudden change in the Torah's tone as it goes on to explore and explain the laws of Nezikei Adam, the laws of bodily damage, and Nezikei Mammon, the laws of property damage. Why this apparent change in tone? What can we learn from it?


To help answer this question, we should turn to the words of Rashi who quotes the Mechilta, saying, "And these are the Mishpatim, the Judgments: Wherever it says 'These' [in the Torah] it rejects that which has been stated previously. [Wherever it says] 'And these,' [as it does here], it adds on to that which has been stated previously. [Thus, 'And these' of this verse implies], 'Just as those which have been stated previously, [the Ten Commandments] are from Sinai, so too, these [commandments that the Torah is about to state] are [also] from Sinai."  


Rashi is communicating something very significant about the relationship between narrative or agadah and law or halakha – Judaism must equally possess and simultaneously embrace both in order to realize the essence of Torah.


According to the Jewish theologian and philosopher Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, the relationship between agadah and halakha, and the necessity to concurrently hold onto both, can be summarized thusly: "Halakha represents the strength to shape one's life according to a fixed pattern; it is a form-giving force. Agadah is the expression of [the human's] ceaseless striving which often defies all limitations. Halakha is the rationalization and schematization of living; it defines, specifies, sets measure and limit, placing life into an exact system. Agadah deals with [humanity's] ineffable relations to God, to other [people], and to the world.  Halakha deals with details, with each commandment separately; agadah with the whole of life, with the totality of religious life. Halakha deals with the law; agadah with the meaning of the law...Halakha teaches us how to perform common acts; agadah tells us how to participate in the eternal drama...Halakha prescribes, agadah suggests; halakha decrees, agadah inspires; 

halakha is definitive, agadah is allusive" (God in Search of Man, pp 336-7). Thus, we see that both narrative and law have an equal standing in Jewish tradition. Though each accomplishes a different objective, each finds its source at Sinai.


The reason why Rashi needed to emphasis that both the laws of Parshat Mishpatim and the previous narratives come from the same origin is because, as Heschel notes, "To maintain that the essence of Judaism consists exclusively of halakha is as erroneous as to maintain that the essence of Judaism consists exclusively of agadah. The interrelationship of halakha and agadah is the very heart of Judaism.  Halakha without agadah is dead, agadah without halakha is wild" (ibid., 337).


Judaism, therefore, requires both the narrative and the law in order to be realized fully, and our parsha asks those who feel more compelled towards the narrative to embrace the legal aspects of Torah, and those who feel more comfortable with the language of law to embrace the spirit of story. Only when both aspects of our tradition are placed on equal terms can we, as a people, fulfill the potential and message of our tradition.


And so, this Shabbat, as we venture into the world of the language of law, let us remember that it is our stories, our emotions, our inner-lights which illuminate and create real and lasting meaning in the world of Torah – a world which boldly proclaims, "Shamor v'Zachor b'Dibur Achad," "Observe (halakha) and Remember (agadah) in one act of speech."  

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 6:02PM

Mincha/Kabbalat Shabbat


Shabbat Morning


9:00 AM

Youth Services


Shabbat Evening








Weekday Services

Monday - Friday



CTI Announcements

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


Tickets and sponsorships are now available for this exciting event. Please click here for more information, tickets and sponsorship opportunities. 

Sponsor Mishloach Manot 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:

Sponsor Kiddush!

CTI is thrilled to sponsor Kiddush of Shabbat Shekalim in honor of our incredible donors who have gone above and beyond to ensure the welfare of our shul.

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! 


Julie Van Keer on February 19

Jeanette Brickman on February 22

Daniel Rosenberg on February 22


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

please update your profile on our website.

Yahrzeit Remembrances

Jack Grevey, Grandfather of Sean Clifford, on Monday 29 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 Jay Rubin, Gary Gerstenhaber, and Isaac Reitberger for their aliyah donations.

Thank you to Offer and Ilana Shavit for

their donation to the Torah Fund.

Thank you to Arthur and Barb Altman

for their yahrzeit donation.

Thank you to Vicki Gould for her donation to the Rabbi's Discretionary Fund.

Thank you to Jay and Carol Rubin, Bob and Linda Maddox, Gary and Karin Gerstenhaber, anonymous, and Vicki Gould's friends and colleagues at Kershaw Anderson, PLLC for their donations to the Youth Educator Fund in memory of Jan Gould z'l.

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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