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Services This Month

Friday Evening Shabbat Services
Friday, April 5, at 7:00 pm
Join us for joyful Shabbat services led by Rabbi Reice with Shin Shinim guest speaker, Yarden Bleicher.
T'filah Together
Saturday, April 13th at 9:00 am
Please join us for T'filah Together, Congregation Shir Ami's Tot Shabbat program for families with kiddos up to the age of eight years old. Click here to register so we can know how many to expect!
Saturday Morning Shabbat Services
Saturday, April 13th at 10:00 am
Join us for joyful services led by Rabbi Reice! There will be a special opportunity in these services for learning a little more about the logic of Jewish prayer. If we have a minyan, there will be ritual Torah reading featuring Torah readers: Joanna Bitner and Rabbi Reice. Please click here to register to let us know you're coming, so we can confirm our minyan.
Torah Study
Saturday, April 20th at 10:30 am
Studying: M'tzora (Leprosy)

Leviticus 14:1-15:33
Please join us Saturday, April 20th, from 10:30am-12pm, for a spirited and educational Torah Study in person only in the Shir Ami Library. Study will be led by David Cohen and Carole Wood to discuss, M'tzora “A Leper”, Leviticus 14:1-15:33, which opens by instructing the Israelites to be holy. It details dozens of laws regulating all aspects of life:

-Priestly rituals to cure tzaraat (a skin condition) when it afflicts humans are
described. (14:1-32)
-Rituals to rid dwelling places of tzaraat are presented. (14:33-57)
-The parashah denotes male impurities resulting from a penile discharge or seminal emission. (15:1-18)
-The parashah concludes with accounts of female impurities caused by a discharge of blood. (15:19-33)
How is eating Matzoh for 8 days anything like removing ourselves from the community? What happens to Jews who own or work at a bakery these eight days? This and other questions will be discussed. See some Commentary, to help prepare when we study together this strange affliction and some of the gaps left to later interpretation in our Torah.
CSA Family Seder
April 22-23 at 7:00 pm
This year, we are hosting each other for Passover Seder. We will be matching up interested families to celebrate Passover together. Please click here for more information and to sign up! Registration deadline is April 12th to give people time to plan.
Save the Date! May 3rd Religious School Shabbat Services
Friday, May 3rd at 7:00 pm
Join us for joyful Religious School Shabbat services led by Rabbi Reice and our Religious School Students!

Upcoming Events

Rabbi Reice Office Hours
April and May Office Hours
2 Apr 2024 (23 Adar II) 10:30am – 1:30pm (Zoom or Texas' Israel Block Party only) 💻 & 👫
3 Apr 2024 (24 Adar II) 8 – 9am (Zoom only) 💻
3 Apr 2024 (24 Adar II) 1 – 3pm (Zoom only) 💻
10 Apr 2024 (2 Nisan) 1 – 4pm 💻 & 👫
11 Apr 2024 (3 Nisan) 12 – 3:30pm (Shalom Austin or Zoom only) 💻 & 👫
16 Apr 2024 (8 Nisan) 12 – 1pm (Zoom only) 💻
17 Apr 2024 (9 Nisan) 11am – 4pm
1 May 2024 (23 Nisan) 1 – 4:30pm
1 May 2024 (23 Nisan) 7 – 8pm (Zoom only) 💻
3 May 2024 (25 Nisan) 12 – 1:30pm (Zoom only) 💻
7 May 2024 (29 Nisan) 12:30 – 3:30pm 💻 & 👫
8 May 2024 (30 Nisan) 11:30am – 2:30pm (Shalom Austin or Zoom only) 💻 & 👫
14 May 2024 (6 Iyar) 9am – 1pm (Zoom only) 💻
15 May 2024 (7 Iyar) 1 – 2pm (Zoom only) 💻
15 May 2024 (7 Iyar) 7 – 8pm (Zoom only) 💻
20 May 2024 (12 Iyar) 10am – 1pm
21 May 2024 (13 Iyar) 12 – 3pm (Zoom only) 💻
29 May 2024 (21 Iyar) 1 – 4:30pm
29 May 2024 (21 Iyar) 7 – 8pm (Zoom only) 💻
31 May 2024 (23 Iyar) 1 – 2:30pm (Zoom only) 💻
April and May Days Off
4 Apr 2024 (25 Adar II)
8 Apr 2024 (29 Adar II)
12 Apr 2024 (4 Nisan)
15 Apr 2024 (7 Nisan)
18 Apr 2024 (10 Nisan)
19 Apr 2024 (11 Nisan)
25 Apr 2024 (17 Nisan)
26 Apr 2024 (18 Nisan)
2 May 2024 (24 Nisan)
6 May 2024 (28 Nisan)
10 May 2024 (2 Iyar)
13 May 2024 (5 Iyar)
16 May 2024 (8 Iyar)
17 May 2024 (9 Iyar)
23 May 2024 (15 Iyar)
24 May 2024 (16 Iyar)
28 May 2024 (20 Iyar)
30 May 2024 (22 Iyar)
April and May Office Closings
1 Apr 2024 (22 Adar II) Office Closed - State Holiday
22 Apr 2024 (14 Nisan) Office Closed - Erev Pesach
23 Apr 2024 (15 Nisan) Office Closed - Pesach I
24 Apr 2024 (16 Nisan) Office Closed - Pesach II
29 Apr 2024 (21 Nisan) Office Closed - Pesach VII
30 Apr 2024 (12 Nisan) Office Closed - Pesach VIII
27 May 2024 (19 Iyar) Office Closed - Memorial Day
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 and Anniversaries in April

Happy Anniversary:
04/03         Dmitriy & Sarah Belyi
04/09         Aaron Roos Kirkpatrick & Poushali  Bhattacharjee
04/17        Bonnie & David Cohen
Happy Birthday:
04/01        Adam Belyi
04/04        Trystan Stefanowicz
04/04        Julie Cohn
04/05        Sharon Cooper
04/07        Diane Stepakof-Fay
04/09        Andrew Cooper
04/12        Jim Tarsi
04/16        Laurie Simmons
04/25        Gideon Levinsky
04/26        Mary Whitlock
04/27        David Cohen
Passover Seder How-to Q&A
Sunday, April 7 at 1:00 pm

Are you unsure about hosting a seder? Are you an experienced host excited to share your successes with newbies? Are you somewhere in between? Click here to RSVP for an event to share you wisdom and get more ideas from Rabbi Reice.
Board of Trustees Monthly Meeting
Sunday, April 21 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-shirts are Back for a Limited Time!

Shir Ami t-shirts are available for purchase at this time. If you missed the first order opportunity, there is still time to get one. Sizes and quantities are limited so don't wait too long. To find out how you can get your Shir Ami t-shirt contact Eloise Potter and she will arrange to get the shirt to you.
Women's Mah Jongg
If you are interested in learning or playing, contact Maxine or Leslie
Happy Bookers Book Club
Date/Time: Saturday, April 27 @ 10:30 a.m.
Book: Kantika by Elizabeth Graver
About the Book
A dazzling Sephardic multigenerational saga that moves from Istanbul to Barcelona, Havana, and New York, exploring displacement, endurance, and family as home
A kaleidoscopic portrait of one family’s displacement across four countries, Kantika—“song” in Ladino—follows the joys and losses of Rebecca Cohen, feisty daughter of the Sephardic elite of early 20th-century Istanbul. When the Cohens lose their wealth … Rebecca fashions a life and self from what comes her way—a failed marriage, the need to earn a living, but also passion, pleasure and motherhood. Moving from Spain to Cuba to New York for an arranged second marriage, she faces her greatest challenge—her disabled stepdaughter, Luna, whose feistiness equals her own and whose challenges pit new family against old. Exploring identity, place and exile, Kantika also reveals how the female body—in work, art and love—serves as a site of both suffering and joy.
About the Author
Elizabeth Graver’s fifth novel, Kantika, was inspired by her grandmother Rebecca, who was born into a Sephardic Jewish family in Istanbul and whose shape-shifting life journey took her to Spain, Cuba and New York. Awards: 2023 Edward Lewis Wallant Award; a National Jewish Book Award; named a Best Historical Fiction Book and Notable Book  of the Year by The New York Times, and a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Lilith and Libby. Her fourth novel, The End of the Point, was long-listed for the 2013 National Book Award in Fiction and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Other novels: Awake, The Honey Thief, and Unravelling. Her story collection, Have You Seen Me? won the 1991 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Elizabeth Graver’s work has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and Best American Essays. She teaches at Boston College.
About Happy Bookers
The Happy Bookers book club is open to Shir Ami members. Interested prospective members should contact the Shir Ami Membership Committee.

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, Elana Clift-Reaves, Charlotte Cohn, Lisa Coopersmith, Anne Ditlefsen-Smallwood, Glen Fine, Elizabeth Freaney, 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, Thelma Mickelson, Carol Moon, 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, Mary Whitlock, Carole Wood, Dominic Wood, Bonnie Zimmer
A Night to Remember
Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make our first annual Night to Remember fundraiser such an amazing success! Special congratulations to Linda and Ron Weiss who celebrated 50 years of marriage at the party!
Yom Ha’Atzmaut Celebration
Dell JCC Campus  |  Sunday, May 19  |  1:00 - 3:00pm
Mark your calendars! Shir Ami will be hosting a booth at the Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebration at the Dell JCC in May! And we need ideas and volunteers for our booth! If you have a desire to help plan, please contact Rabbi Reice ASAP before another organization takes your idea!
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!

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.

Community News

Spiritual and Ethical Teachings for the Counting of the Omer
Wednesdays at 8:00 to 8:30pm ET April 24 - June 5 via Zoom
Rabbi Reice will be teaching a class on May 8th!
Peace Family Housing Project
Peace Lutheran Church, a small church on 620, is inviting the community to be part of creating four units of transitional housing on Peace's campus for families experiencing homelessness. Typically it takes about three months to find permanent housing for families, so this facility would serve about 12 families per year. Once the funds are raised, the construction will be done by Home Aid, an organization that works with non-profits to build needed housing, and finds discounted or donated materials and labor.  Foundation for the Homeless has consulted on the design, and will be running the facility.  All money donated will only be used for housing.  No donations will be used for support of Peace Lutheran Church operations or ministry.  Because of a generous legacy gift from Lord of Life Lutheran Church, and other donations and grants, about $550,000 of the needed $1.2 million has already been raised.  As soon as the remaining funds are raised, construction will begin. The target is to have the facility built and serving families in 2025.
The even bigger dream is that Peace hopes to begin a movement where needed housing is built on other other non-profits' land, so more people could have safe housing.  Please consider being part of this project, either through Amplify Austin - "I live here, I give here" campaign this month (under Housing)  or via the Peace Housing Project website.  More information is available on both of these links, including a floor plan.  My husband, Ed Bailen, who is a member of Shir Ami, and I are excited to be so directly part of a local project to provide safe housing for families. We are happy to answer any questions you might have.
- Irene Beattie & Ed Bailen
A Matter of Balance Class
I am hoping to bring A Matter of Balance to Shir Ami and Live Oak before the end of the year. A Matter of Balance is a fun and dynamic course that emphasizes practical strategies to manage falls and maintain an active, healthy lifestyle. This course is given under the auspices of CaregiverU, a program of AGE of Central Texas.
The biggest hurdle to our beginning to offer the course is that we need at least two – and preferably three – volunteer Class Leaders (instructors) for the course. Training takes place in two five-hour sessions, which will be scheduled once we have the volunteers. Class leaders are expected to teach the course twice in the first year and once each year after that for as long as you remain a volunteer.
The course itself, which is free to all participants, is offered in eight two-hour sessions, either once a week for eight weeks or twice a week for four weeks. (My preference is the latter.) The course is usually taught during the day, since many of the target audience have trouble driving after dark, but one of my hopes for this is to schedule at least one session in late afternoon, so that anyone who needs the course but is still working can attend. We can decide later specifically how we want to schedule it.
I attended this course recently when it was presented by my neighborhood community center. I really enjoyed it and got a *lot* out of it, so much so that even others are noticing.
If you are interested in being trained and becoming a volunteer class leader, please email me at or text me at 512-699-7913. Once we have trained leaders available, we will schedule the first round of classes.
- Cindy Tarsi
Jewish Children's Regional Services
Yoms Educational Electives
On Monday, April 15, we will be hosting our Yoms Educational Electives for an evening of learning, where you can choose from a variety of classes related to each of the three YOMs.
You will be able to choose one class from 6 - 6:45 PM and one class from 7 - 7:45 PM, offered by our wonderful community clergy and educators. View each of our class options HERE.
Registration is required by Friday, May 3 at 5 PM. Click here to register!
Shalom Austin's Meaningful Month of May
Coming up in May, we will gather to mark Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaron, and Yom HaAtzmaut. Click here for details and to register (as required to attend each program)!  
Holocaust Remembrance Day
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 hosted by Shir Ami 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? Loans can be made available within a week or even same day in emergencies! Contact or visit
Thu, May 23 2024 15 Iyar 5784