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Services This Month

Friday Evening Shabbat Services
Friday, January 5 at 7:00 pm
Join with your Shir Ami Friends and Community as Rabbi Reice, our senior Rabbi and Director of Education, shares her insight into Parshat Sh'mot.
T'filah Together
Saturday, January 13 at 9:00 am
Please join us for T’filah Together, Shir Ami's version of Tot Shabbat, Saturday, the 13th in the Fellowship Hall!
Services are geared towards families with children ages 8 years and younger, but all are welcome!
This will include age-appropriate songs, prayers, and a PJ Library story. Register here to let us know to expect to see you there!
Shabbat Morning Services
Saturday, January 13 at 10:00 am
Join us for joyful services led by Rabbi Reice with Torah reading from Joanna Bitner. We need a minyan in order for Joanna to be able to ritually read from the scroll. Please register to let us know to expect to see you there. It will help us to know if we can anticipate having a minyan. Thank you for registering.
Save the Date! February 2nd Shabbat Services
Friday, February 2 at 7:00 pm
Join us for joyful services led by Rabbi Reice, and celebrate the birthday of Shir Ami!

Upcoming Events

Rabbi Reice Office Hours
January Office Hours
2 Jan 2024 (21 Tevet) 11:00am – 2:00pm (Zoom only) 💻
2 Jan 2024 (21 Tevet) 7:30 – 8:30pm (Zoom only) 💻
3 Jan 2024 (22 Tevet) 1:00 – 3:00pm (Zoom only) 💻
5 Jan 2024 (24 Tevet) 1:00 - 2:00pm (Zoom only) 💻
11 Jan 2024 (1 Shvat) 9:30am – 3:30pm (Zoom only) 💻
16 Jan 2024 (6 Shvat) 12:00 – 5:00pm (Shalom Austin or Zoom only) 💻 & 👫
17 Jan 2024 (7 Shvat) 1:00 – 2:00pm (Zoom only) 💻
31 Jan 2024 (21 Shvat) 2:30 – 4pm (Zoom only) 💻
1 Feb 2024 (22 Shvat) 9:30am – 2pm (Zoom only) 💻
Conferences, working with more limited availability by phone/email:
January 7-10, 2024 PARR
January 22-24, 2024 ARJE
Days Off
4 Jan 2024 (23 Tevet)
12 Jan 2024 (2 Shvat)
18 Jan 2024 (8 Shvat)
19 Jan 2024 (9 Shvat)
25 Jan 2024 (15 Shvat)
26 Jan 2024 (16 Shvat)
29 Jan 2024 (19 Shvat)
30 Jan 2024 (20 Shvat) - comp for 1/11/24
Office Closings
1 Jan 2024 (20 Tevet) Office Closed - National Holiday
15 Jan 2024 (5 Shvat) Office Closed - National Holiday
During Office hours, Rabbi Reice will be answering the phone, answering emails, and meeting with those folks 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 in January

Happy Birthday:
Allen Kaplan, January 4
Ashley Wilgoren, January 5
Alyssa Gladstone, January 6
Josef Zeevi, January 8
Ed Bailen, January 10
Jason Fay, January 10
Sarmi Stewart, January 13
Robb Wilgoren, January 14
Leslie Schlanger, January 17
Julia and Rebecca Ballow, January 23
John Liberty, January 23
Aaron Coleman, January 24
Grant Rose, January 26
Eloise Potter, January 27
Board of Trustees Monthly Meeting
Sunday, January 14 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
Benchmark Survey Results Meeting
Sunday, January 14 at 5:30 pm

All members are invited to attend a meeting to go over the results of last year's URJ Benchmark survey. Dinner will be served, please click here to RSVP so we will have an accurate count for food.
Women's Mah Jongg
If you are interested in learning or playing, contact Maxine or Leslie
Happy Bookers Book Club
Saturday, January 20 at 10:30 a.m.
Book: Bookish People by Susan Coll
About the Book
A perfect storm of comedic proportions erupts in a DC bookstore over the course of one soggy summer week—narrated by two very different women and punctuated by political turmoil, a celestial event, and a perpetually broken vacuum cleaner.
Independent bookstore owner Sophie Bernstein is burned out on books. Mourning the death of her husband, the loss of her favorite manager, her only child’s lack of aspiration, and the grim state of the world, she fantasizes about going into hiding in the secret back room of her store.Renowned poet Raymond Chaucer has published a new collection, and rumors that he’s to blame for his wife’s suicide have led to national cancellations of his publicity tour. He intends to set the record straight—with an ultra-fine-point Sharpie—but only one shop still plans to host him: Sophie’s.

With an intergenerational cast of oblivious authors, over-qualified booksellers—and a Russian tortoise named Kurt Vonnegut Jr.—Bookish People captures the endearing quirks of some of the best kinds of people: the ones who love good books.
About the Author
Susan Coll is the current President of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. She is the former Events and Programs Director at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC, where she is now part of the events team. Bookish People is her sixth novel. She also wrote Acceptance, a satire of the college admissions process, which was made into a 2009 television movie starring Joan Cusack and Mae Whitman. Her other books include The Stager, Beach Week, Rockville Pike, and Susan Coll's work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post,,, and The Millions.
About Happy Bookers
Shir Ami's book club, Happy Bookers, meets monthly on Saturday mornings in members' homes and on Zoom. We read a variety of books in several genres, have interesting discussions, and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with group schmooz. And good nosh! Happy Bookers is open to members of Congregation Shir Ami. Prospective Shir Ami members interested in Happy Bookers should contact Shir Ami's Membership Committee. Click here for more information!

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, Sandy Sherwin, 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
Chanukah Party
Thanks everyone who came to celebrate! Special thanks to Melanie Williams and Mike Bogart for opening their home.
Caring Circle Support Gathering
Thanks everyone who participated!
The Caring Circle sponsored a Support Gathering including a visit from a Jewish Family Services counselor as well as a Therapy Dog Team from The Dog Alliance. Special thanks to Melanie WIlliams and Mike Bogart for hosting, the JSF counselor, Emma Howitt (pictured above), and to our Bow Wow Therapy Team: Cheryl White and Boudreaux, Kate Von Alt, and Tessa.
PJ Storybook Drive and Party
Saturday, December 9 at 6:00 pm
Congregation Shir Ami, in cooperation with Live Oak UU, collected new pajamas 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 was a party reading stories with cookies and milk. Special thanks to Shir Ami member and author Jennifer Ballow who shared her book with the children.

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

Shabbat Of Love - Friday, January 19th, 2024
The #ShabbatOfLove was created to embrace the Jewish people,
spreading love for who we are.

Join us as we set the table for the largest Shabbat dinner celebration in North American history on January 19th, 2024. We welcome Jews of all ages, backgrounds, and identities to come together with your family, friends, and supportive neighbors, to experience the sacred joy of Shabbat - a celebration of Jewish light and love.

Shabbat of Love is a program that encourages Jews all over North America to spread love. Spreading love can take the form of welcoming neighbors into your home for Shabbat dinner, volunteering with a local soup kitchen, telling Jewish stories to children, or otherwise feeling close to the Jewish community and educating others about Judaism and our people. The goal is to build new connections and remind ourselves that being Jewish is about more than just ourselves as individuals.
Sign up to participate in Shabbat of Love. Tell us how you are spreading the love on this historic event. Lift up Jewish joy in a way that is meaningful to you.
You can find more information here to celebrate with us or on your own:

Shabbat of Love.
Shalom Austin Adult Jewish Learning
Dear Community,
We are excited to announce that registration for the spring semester of Shalom Austin Adult Jewish Learning is now OPEN!
Through a series of exciting and varied learning opportunities, engage with local clergy surrounding tough topics and conversations.
To learn more about our offerings and to register, click here.
We look forward to learning with you, beginning on January 22!
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