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Services This Month

Friday Evening Shabbat Services
Friday, July 12, at 7:00 pm
Join us for joyful Shabbat services led by Rabbi Reice. We will be installing the new board of trustees!
July 20th T'filah Together
Saturday, July 20th at 9:00 am
Rabbi Reice leads a special service designed for young children and their families Please click here to register!
July 20th Morning Learners' Shabbat Services
Saturday, July 20 th at 10:00 am
Join together for Shabbat morning services, including special commentary on the liturgy as part of our Learners' Services Series (no previous attendance required) led by Rabbi Reice. Please click here to register!
Save the Date! August 2nd Shabbat Services
Friday, August 2nd at 7:00 pm
Join us for Shabbat services led by Rabbi Reice.

Upcoming Events

Rabbi Reice Office Hours
July Office Hours
2 Jul 2024 (26 Sivan) 11am – 2pm 💻 & 👫
2 Jul 2024 (26 Sivan) 2 – 5pm (Zoom only) 💻
9 Jul 2024 (3 Tamuz) 9am – 3pm (Zoom only) 💻
16 Jul 2024 (10 Tamuz) 11am – 3pm 💻 & 👫
17 Jul 2024 (11 Tamuz) 11am – 1pm (Zoom only) 💻
23 Jul 2024 (17 Tamuz) 11am – 2pm (Zoom only) 💻
24 Jul 2024 (18 Tamuz) 11am – 2pm 💻 & 👫
30 Jul 2024 (24 Tamuz) 12 – 4pm 💻 & 👫
31 Jul 2024 (25 Tamuz) 11am – 1pm (Zoom only) 💻
July Days Off
1 Jul 2024 (25 Sivan)
3 Jul 2024 (27 Sivan)
8 Jul 2024 (2 Tamuz)
11 Jul 2024 (5 Tamuz)
15 Jul 2024 (9 Tamuz)
18 Jul 2024 (12 Tamuz)
25 Jul 2024 (19 Tamuz)
26 Jul 2024 (20 Tamuz)
29 Jul 2024 (23 Tamuz)
July Office Closings
4 Jul 2024 (28 Sivan) 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 and Anniversaries in July

Happy Anniversary:
7/03        Amy & Paul Clift
7/07        Kimberly & Mark Stefanowicz,
7/13        Gale & Chris McMahon
7/25        Rabbi Rebecca Reice & Asher Lazarus
Happy Birthday:
7/10        Elizabeth Coleman
7/11        Wes Eichenwald
7/15        Chris Grabish
7/17        Heather Levinsky
7/22        Jill Balagur-Conn
7/22        Laureli Methena
7/29        Monica Roussel Methena
Betrayal of Trust Class #2: Jewish Context
Wednesday, July 17 at 7:00 pm
No previous experience in the class is required!
In pursuit of her MA in Jewish Education, Rabbi Reice wrote a curriculum for adult learners around the idea of Betrayals of Trust. She offered to pilot a few sessions to gauge interest among our congregants. This session will be taught in person and on Zoom depending on the preference of those who register (so please put in the Notes, if you will attend over Zoom). Free to members (must be logged in), $18 to non-members. The first two sessions of this course look at Nasty Narratives. This first session, in honor of Juneteenth, examined Nastiness in the American narrative. The second session does the same but in the uniquely Jewish context. Register here!
Board of Trustees Monthly Meeting
Sunday, July 21 at 10:30 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
Women's Mah Jongg
If you are interested in learning or playing, contact Maxine or Leslie
Happy Bookers Book Club
Date/Time: Saturday, July 27 @ 10:30 a.m.
Book: Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde 
About the Book
New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde brings heartwarming authenticity to the story of two strangers who find that kindness is a powerful antidote to fear.
Raymond Jaffe feels like he doesn’t belong. Not with his mother’s new family. Not as a weekend guest with his father and his father’s wife. Not at school, where he’s an outcast. After his best friend moves away, Raymond has only two real connections: the feral cat he’s tamed and a blind ninety-two-year-old woman in his building who’s introduced herself with a curious question: Have you seen Luis Velez?
Mildred Gutermann, a German Jew who narrowly escaped the Holocaust, has been alone since her caretaker disappeared. She turns to Raymond for help, and as he tries to track Luis down, a deep and unexpected friendship blossoms. Raymond helps her see that for every terrible act the world delivers, there is a mirror image of deep kindness, and Mildred helps Raymond see that there’s hope if you have someone to hold on to.
About the Author
Catherine Ryan Hyde has written more than 40 books and over 50 short stories. She is an avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer and astrophotographer, and has a published book of photos, 365 Days of Gratitude: Photos from a Beautiful World.
Her novel Pay it Forward was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages in over 30 countries. Pay it Forward: Young Readers Edition is suitable for kids as young as eight. Catherine Ryan Hyde’s novels and short stories have received many honors and awards. She is founder and former president (2000-2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation, and served on its board of directors for over 20 years. As a public speaker she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, and met with Americorps members at the White House.
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.
Ben Bailen, Ed Bailen, Ivan Bailen, Bill Bitner, LeRoy Bitner, Jeffrey-George Bogart, Ralph Burdett, Darin Burdman, Pamela Caulder-Fine, Susan Chisum, Marcelina Cisneros, Lisa Coopersmith, Glen Fine, Elizabeth Freaney, Janet Friedman, Linda Friedman, Lynn Gelber, Carol Goldmark, Robin Gordon, Juliet Clare Grabish, Pearl Kopita, Kate Koons, Bill Kurtz, Gail Lary, Peter Lary, Rabbi Mark Levin, William Lenz, John Maes, Eric Maginness, Geri Meyers, Thelma Mickelson, Carol Moon, Kay Moore, Dominae Petrosini, 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
Welcome new members!

Thank you to the Membership committee for putting together a wonderful dinner to honor our new members!
High Holy Days Needs Volunteers
Dear Shir Ami Families,
as we enter summer, our thoughts go to wonderful outdoor activities and excitement for the upcoming fall season. This is also a time when we start to think about the High Holy Days. There are many ways to be involved, including joining the High Holy Days Committee. Please consider joining the team and let us know if you would be interested! You can contact me, Sarmi Stewart, by phone (956) 455-6707 or by email at I look forward to hearing from you.
Small Ark Makeover

Our small Ark has been given a makeover! Please contact Eloise Potter if you would like to see the small Ark and don't have access to the room. 

Rabbi Reice Update
In June, Rabbi Reice was happy to assist Ollie Weisbrod as he became Bar Mitzvah at a well attended service at the beginning of June.
In late May, she completed certification as a Youth Mental Health First Aider. She also attended, in June, along with some members, a suicide prevention training and is planning to share this training with the board of trustees.
As part of her Master's Thesis in Jewish Education she offered a class on June 19th, discussing Betrayals of Trust which was attended by both members and non-members and will continue the series in July.
She also facilitated in a Red Bench group through iACT.
Save the Date 
September 8  |  11:30 - 12:30
Congregation Shir Ami, along with LOUU, invites you to you to “Save the Date” for a program about Advance Care Planning.
Sunday, September 8, 2024
Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church
This informative experience will include a presentation about the importance of Advanced Care Planning,
Q&A from Hospice Austin representatives, document signing and other resource sharing.
To register email
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

Hadassah Honey From the Heart
Support our local Hadassah chapter! Click here for details!
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
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
Tue, July 23 2024 17 Tammuz 5784