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Services This Month

Friday Evening Shabbat Services
Friday, December 1 at 7:00 pm
Join us as Rabbi Reice leads our joyous Shabbat services.
Morning Shabbat Services
Saturday, December 16 at 10:00 am
Join us for joyful services led by Rabbi Reice and co-led by Brady Wilgoren as he celebrates becoming Bar Mitzvah at Shir Ami!
Torah Study
Friday, December 23 at 10:30 am
Please join us for Torah Study, Parashat Vayigash, in the Board Room from 10:30am-12pm, for a spirited and educational in person discussion. Meeting led by David Cohen and Carole Wood.
Vayigash (“He Approached”) opens as Judah pleads with Joseph not to keep Benjamin as a prisoner. Joseph reveals his true identity to his brothers, crying and kissing them. The brothers bring Jacob from Canaan to Egypt, and Jacob and his children settle in Goshen. The portion ends as Joseph buys most of Egypt’s land in exchange for food.  Click here to register if you will be attending.  We hope to see you IN PERSON!
Save the Date! January 5th Shabbat Services
Friday, January 5 at 7:00 pm
Join us for joyful services led by Rabbi Reice!

Upcoming Events

Rabbi Reice Office Hours
December Office Hours
5 Dec 2023 (22 Kislev) 1:30 – 4:30pm (Shir Ami or LISD) 💻 & 👫
6 Dec 2023 (23 Kislev) 8 – 9am (Zoom only) 💻
7 Dec 2023 (24 Kislev) 7:30 – 9:30am (Shalom Austin Only) 👫
12 Dec 2023 (28 Kislev) 9am – 1pm (Shalom Austin or Zoom only) 💻 & 👫
13 Dec 2023 (1 Tevet) 2 – 4pm (Zoom only) 💻
20 Dec 2023 (8 Tevet) 2 – 5:30pm (Zoom only) 💻
21 Dec 2023 (9 Tevet) 11am – 1:30pm (Zoom only) 💻
Days Off
8 Dec 2023 (25 Kislev)
11 Dec 2023 (28 Kislev) – comp for 12/4/23
14 Dec 2023 (2 Tevet)
15 Dec 2023 (3 Tevet)
18 Dec 2023 (6 Tevet)
19 Dec 2023 (7 Tevet)
27 Dec 2023 (15 Tevet)
28 Dec 2023 (16 Tevet)
Office Closings
25 Dec 2023 (13 Tevet) Office Closed - National Holiday
26 Dec 2023 (14 Tevet) Office Closed - State Holiday
1 Jan 2024 (20 Tevet) Office Closed - National Holiday
Vacation Day
29 Dec 2023 (17 Tevet)
During Office hours, Rabbi Reice will be answering the phone, answering emails, and meeting with those who have scheduled an appointment (in person, over the phone or a video call). Please feel free to call or email Rabbi Reice during these times. (Of course, contact her, or our President, Alan Kook, immediately for more urgent matters.)
Please email our administrator, Rachel McEwen (, to schedule an appointment in advance.

Celebrating Birthdays and Anniversaries in November

Happy Anniversary:
David and Tish Dashefsky, December 18
Happy Birthday:
Jennifer Ballow, December 5
Robin Coleman, December 5
Sara Goodman, December 8
Tiffany Weisbrod, December 12
AJ Tarsi, December 12
Kay Moore, December 13
James Smallwood, December 13
Kimberly Stefanowicz, December 20
Skylar Stefanowicz, December 21
William Lenz, December 23
Madalyn Simmons, December 25
Paul Clift, December 25
Board of Trustees Monthly Meeting
Sunday, December 3 at 11:15 am

All members are invited to attend the Board of Trustees meetings.  If you would like to attend this meeting, or wish to speak at the meeting, please contact our President, Alan Kook, at
Shir Ami T-shirt Pick up!
Friday, December 1 during Shabbat Oneg

All pre-ordered Shir Ami T-shirts will be available for pickup during the Oneg on December 1st. If you will not be there please contact to make other arrangements. We hope to see everyone in their shirts at the Chanukah party!
PJ Storybook Drive and Party
Saturday, December 9 at 6:00 pm
Congregation Shir Ami, in cooperation with Live Oak UU, is collecting new pajamas (in sizes from infant to adult XXXL) and new books for disadvantaged children throughout the month of December to benefit The Pajama Project, which distributes these items to children in need. There will be a box for donations at Shir Ami during December.
We cap off our drive with a pajama and storybook party at Shir Ami. Since it will be Chanukah and Saturday evening, Rabbi Reice will lead us in Havdallah and lighting Chanukah candles. Then Rabbi Reice and Reverend Crawford, wearing their holiday pajamas, will read stories while we all enjoy milk and cookies. Come dressed in your favorite pajamas! A donation of pajamas or books is your ticket to enter.
For more information and to register click here!
CSA Support Gathering
Sunday, December 10 at 3:00 pm
Like many, you may be worried, sad, or angry about the recent events in Israel. There are some among us with friends and family in Israel. Sometimes a hug is sufficient, other times a conversation – even if just to be heard; even the power of petting or hugging a pet is undeniably healing.
Before our Chanukah party this year, the Caring Circle will be hosting a Support Gathering for CSA members to include a visit from a Jewish Family Services  counselor as well as a Therapy Dog Team from The Dog Alliance. If you are interested in being a part of this event to promote physical and emotional wellness. Please click here for more information and to register.
Chanukah Party
Sunday, December 10 at 4:00 pm

Click here to RSVP and sign up for the potluck!

For more information, email
Happy Bookers Book Club
Saturday, December 9 at 10:30 am
Like to read? Like stimulating discussion? Happy Bookers welcomes all Shir Ami members.
Interested? Contact Shir Ami Administrator,, and the Happy Bookers will be in touch.
Have a book you want to discuss? We will be accepting suggestions for next year's reading schedule until December 11. Share your suggestions and the book club will vote on the books we will add. Click here for more information.

Date: Saturday, December 9 @ 10:30 a,m
Book: The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer
About the Book
"The Matzah Ball had me laughing out all-around terrific read."—Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Oy! To the World!! Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a shameful secret: she loves Christmas. For a decade she’s hidden her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family. Her talent has made her a bestseller even as her chronic illness has kept the kind of love she writes about out of reach. But when her diversity-conscious publisher insists she write a Hanukkah romance, her well of inspiration runs dry. Hanukkah’s not magical. It’s not merry. It’s not Christmas. Desperate not to lose her contract, Rachel is determined to find her muse at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, even if it means working with her summer camp archenemy—Jacob Greenberg.
Rachel and Jacob haven’t seen each other since they were kids, yet magically, Rachel finds herself drawn to Hanukkah—and Jacob—in a way she never expected. Maybe this holiday of lights will be the spark she needed to set her heart ablaze.
About the Author
Jean Meltzer is a nice Jewish girl with a not-so-secret love of Christmas. After a childhood steeped in Jewish tradition, kosher food, loving bubbes, and awkward Jewish summer camp romances, she found her way to NYU Tisch School of the Arts, earning a bachelor of fine arts degree. After college, she was creative director of Tapestry International, an Oscar-winning TV and film production company and earned a daytime Emmy. She then spent five years in rabbinical school in Israel, finally discovering the magic of Hanukkah, before her chronic illness (chronic fatigue syndrome) forced her to withdraw. Her father told her she should write a book—just not a Jewish one because no one reads those. The Matzah Ball is Jean Meltzer’s first novel.
Jean Meltzer lives a thriving, chronically-fabulous, Jewish life in Virginia. She sees her challenges as part of a larger journey and is eager to share her stories with others. She has written three novels, The Matzah Ball,which is in development as a feature film, Mr. Perfect on Paper, and the recently published Kissing Kosher.

Shir Ami News

Mi Shebeirach

Our Prayers for the Physical, Spiritual and Emotional Healing for those named and any others in need.
Please email Rabbi Reice at to enter a name on the list or remove a name from the list.
Bill Bitner, LeRoy Bitner, Jeffrey-George Bogart, Ralph Burdett, Darin Burdman, Pamela Caulder-Fine, Susan Chisum, Marcelina Cisneros, Charlotte Cohn, Lisa Coopersmith, Anne Ditlefsen-Smallwood, Glen Fine, Janet Friedman, Linda Friedman, Lynn Gelber, Carol Goldmark, Robin Gordon, Juliet Clare Grabish, Pearl Kopita, Kate Koons, Bill Kurtz, Rabbi Mark Levin, William Lenz, John Maes, Kay Moore, Wendy Pravda, Emory Plum Schlanger, Skylar Stefanowicz, Trystan Stefanowicz, Anthony Tarsi, Cindy Tarsi (Chasye Chana bat Laya Raizel v’Avraham Yitzchak HaLevi), Jim Tarsi, Larry Whitlock, Carole Wood, Dominic Wood, Bonnie Zimmer

Shir Ami and Drive a Senior Northwest – Partners in Supporting our Older Adults

Volunteer Drivers Needed
Please consider becoming a volunteer driver for the Drive a Senior Northwest program. By offering to drive someone just one or two short trips a month, you will be an unbelievable help to our many older adults still living at home in the northwest Austin/Cedar Park/Leander area. Driving an older adult is incredibly rewarding and very much appreciated. Please go online to to read about the program, then print a volunteer form, fill it out, and mail it in. Or ask Sara Goodman ( for more information about the program.
Services to Adults 60+
If you or a loved one is 60+ and needs help to stay in your/their home, Drive A Senior Northwest is here for you. Services include rides to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, community activities, etc. as well as minor home repair, telephone reassurance, and a twice monthly senior day out. Contact Drive a Senior Northwest at or (512) 250-5021.
The Caring Circle - Care to Get Involved?

Lending a helping hand to members in times of stress is a vital part of any congregation. Kind and caring Shir Ami members volunteer in this group to help provide support to other Shir Ami congregants in times of life's challenges such as illness, death, divorce, and birth. Specific activities include helping to secure a minyan for a memorial or shiva service, sending notes to members on the loss of a loved one, arranging transportation for a member to attend services or other Shir Ami events, and providing meals, sending cards, visiting, or calling congregants during times of illness or post-hospitalization.
If you are experiencing any of these challenges and wish to be contacted by the Caring Circle, please contact Rabbi Reice. If you wish to be a more active Caring Circle volunteer, please contact Sara Goodman at All are welcome!

Community News

Learning Opportunity for Preschool-age Children 

Austin Hadassah invites you to join L’dor V’dor Learners – a program for families with pre-school aged kids to learn about the Jewish holidays every month. Check out the flier for details.  Hadassah members can join for free, but a nominal charge for supplies is requested at registration for those who are not Hadassah member yet.
Hadassah Holiday Gift Bazaar

A Celebration for Rabbi Monty Eliasov

Tuesday, December 5, 7:00 pm
Join us to celebrate the impact that Rabbi Monty made on the Austin Jewish community. Please click here to help us reach our fundraising goal for his retirement. You can also bring donations to the event if you would prefer not to donate online. Austin clergy will be teaching, singing and celebrating Rabbi Monty together with his friends and supporters. Please come with written memories to share with the Rabbi of the impact he made on your life.
Shalom Austin Dell JCC, Community Hall
7300 Hart Ln
Austin, TX 78731
RSVP by emailing
Free JCC Membership
Get a FREE JCC Membership With Renew Active

The JCC is the fitness center at Shalom Austin.
Renew Active and Medicare One Pass will pay for your JCC membership! The JCC has partnered with UnitedHealthcare to offer Medicare insurance-covered memberships for seniors (65+) through a program called Renew Active.

To get started, email or call 512-735-8001 with your Renew Active ID and phone number.
Jewish Family Services Caregiver Support Groups
Family Caregiver Support Group: This is an ongoing group and meets the first and third Thursday of each month. It is a safe place for family members caring for adult loved ones to discuss the stresses, challenges, and rewards of caregiving. To register, click here
Digital Mood & Mindfulness with Jewish Family Service
Do you feel distracted? Hurried? Preoccupied? This personal development workshop will teach mindfulness techniques that can help participants to be more present and aware in daily life. Mindfulness has the power to improve relationships, increase self-control, boost productivity and can lessen depression and anxiety.
Join Shalom Austin Jewish Family Service’s professionally-facilitated workshop to develop mindfulness skills and discuss common experiences together.
Second Tuesday of each month at 11AM
Via Zoom
Free to attend
For more information and to register to receive the link, please contact Emma Howitt, LPC-S, LCDC at

Volunteer for Shalom Austin JFS Food Pantry

The Client Choice Shalom Austin JFS Food Pantry is always looking to engage volunteers in food drives, packing food bags, and making deliveries. Anyone interested in getting involved in any capacity, can email Joan Eisenberg Maniere at
Also, if you know of any community members who are facing food insecurity, please have them contact Joan, and she can get them enrolled into the program.

Interest Free Loans

Hebrew Free Loan of Austin provides short-term financial support for members of the Austin Jewish community through interest-free loans that springboard you to your next step in life. Could you or someone you know use a hand-up with an interest free loan? Contact or visit
Thu, February 29 2024 20 Adar I 5784