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Services This Month

Friday Evening Religious School Shabbat Services
Friday, May 3, at 7:00 pm
Join us for joyful Shabbat services led by our Hebrew School and Sunday School students with Rabbi Reice.
T'filah Together
Saturday, May 11th 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!
Torah Study
Saturday, May 11th at 10:30 am
Please join us Saturday, May 11th, from 10:30am-12pm, for a spirited and educational Torah Study in person only in the Shir Ami Library. Study will be led by Carole Wood to discuss, Kedoshim (“Holy”), Leviticus 19:1-20:27, which opens by instructing the Israelites to be holy. It details dozens of laws regulating all aspects of life:
1. Observing Shabbat, loving one’s neighbor, and leaving portions of a field for the poor. It ends by detailing punishments for certain types of idolatry and sexual misconduct.
2. God issues a variety of commandments, instructing the Israelites on how to be a holy people. (19:1-37)
3. Various sex offenses are discussed and punishments for them are presented. (20:1-27)

Why can we not mix different types of fiber to make our clothing? These and other questions will be discussed. See, where we study together the origins and some of the gaps left to later interpretation in our Torah.
Havdalah Together
Saturday, May 18th at 6:30 pm
Dottie Elliot and John Liberty will be hosting a Havdalah dinner this month! This dinner is open to members only and space is limited so please click here to register in advance!
Save the Date! June 7th New Member Dinner
and Shabbat Services featuring Guest Speaker, Gail Tosto, from Austin Shmirah
Friday, June 7th at 6:00 pm
Join us in welcoming and celebrating our new members with a special dinner before Shabbat services led by Rabbi Reice featuring a Guest Speaker about Austin Shmirah, Gail Tosto! Registration for dinner is open now!
Save the Date! June 8th Morning Shabbat Services and Bar Mitzvah for Oliver Weisbrod
Saturday, June 8th at 10:00 am
We come together as the Weisbrod family and Congregation Shir Ami celebrate the simcha of Oliver Wiebrod being called to the Torah as Bar Mitzvah. Please join us on this special occasion as this Religious School student passes from childhood to adulthood in our Jewish tradition, and as our Shir Ami family honors this momentous event!
Rabbi Reice will lead this special ceremony, along with our regular Saturday morning Shabbat Torah Service. Please click here to register!

Upcoming Events

Rabbi Reice Office Hours
May Office Hours
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) 💻
May Days Off
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)
May Office Closings
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 May

Happy Anniversary:
5/07        Dottie Elliott and John Liberty
5/15        Pamela Caulder-Fine and Glen Fine
5/20        Chris and Rick Grabish
5/27        Leslie and Steve Schwartz
Happy Birthday:
5/01        Isaac Belyi
5/06        Zev Gisser
5/11        Leslie Schwartz
5/14        Sheila Berstein
5/16        Sarah Ahmed
5/23        Irene Beattie
5/28        Ron Weiss
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!
Senior Day Out
Anderson Mill Baptist Church  |  Thursday, May 9  |  9:30 - 12:00pm

We need volunteers to help serve lunch! This is a Drive-a-Senior Program that provides lunch and the opportunity for seniors to meet and play games with other seniors. Held at Anderson Mill Baptist Church at 10633 Lake Creek drive. Click here to volunteer!
Board of Trustees Monthly Meeting
Sunday, May 19 at 10:00 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, May 25 @ 10:30 a.m.
Book: The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel
About the Book
From the author of The Book of Lost Names comes an evocative coming-of-age World War II story about a young woman who uses her knowledge of the wilderness to help Jewish refugees escape the Nazis—until a secret from her past threatens everything.
After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted when she comes upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazis.  Stunned to learn what’s happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest—and in turn, they teach her surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes to a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision.
About the Author
Kristin Harmel is the New York Times bestselling, USA Today bestselling, and #1 international bestselling author of The Paris Daughter, The Forest of Vanishing Stars, The Book of Lost Names, and a dozen other novels that have been translated into more than 30 languages and sold worldwide. A former reporter for PEOPLE magazine, she began her career as a sportswriter at the age of 16, covering Major League Baseball and NHL hockey for a local magazine in Tampa Bay, Florida in the late 1990s.
Kristin Harmel was born just outside Boston, Massachusetts, later moving with her family to Columbus, Ohio and St. Petersburg, Florida. After graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Florida, she lived in Paris and Los Angeles and now lives in Orlando with her husband and son.
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, 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, 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, Carole Wood, Dominic Wood, Bonnie Zimmer
Rabbi Reice Update
In April Rabbi Reice was busy preparing the religious school students for Shabbat Services in May. The children are excited to share what they have been learning! The religious school is also gearing up for a new year. New documents and the registration form for the 2024-2025 year can be found on the website.
She has also been working with Jewish Family Services to bring classes and youth-centered programs to Shir Ami, including ASK suicide prevention training. Registration for the June 10 training at Shalom Austin is open now. Contact Rabbi Reice for the link. She will be trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid in May. If you are interested in joining her for that training, please reach out to her soon.
Rabbi Reice is currently meeting regularly with people seeking conversion, and is beginning the process with more. She has been meeting with a member family for individualized study. She is also working with a family for a baby naming ceremony and a couple who plan to marry.
On May 12 she will be blessing the State of Israel at the Yom HaZikaron Ceremony at the JCC. On May 19th, she will be be in a booth at the JCC Yom HaAtzmaut Celebration with other Shir Ami volunteers. The booth will have Israeli music and photos honoring the hostages taken by Hamas terrorists. If you would like to support Rabbi Reice and Shir Ami's efforts at this event please contact Rabbi Reice or Rachel.
Rabbi Reice has also been involved in the interfaith community through iACT. She is working with Pastor Carolyn Albert Donovan at Peace Lutheran and members of Shir Ami to plan Interfaith events between congregations. She facilitated and spoke at an iACT Red Bench Conversation meeting at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cedar Park.
Rabbi Reice will conclude her two year term as President of the Southwest Association of Reform Rabbis in early May.
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! We will have Israeli music and an opportunity to honor the hostages and send messages of love and support to their families in Israel. We need volunteers! Click here to sign up to help run the booth.
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

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)!  Rabbi Reice will be leading the Prayer for the State of Israel at the Yom HaZikaron Ceremony.
AS+K About Suicide to Save a Life
June 10  |  1-4pm

What: JFS is presenting AS+K About Suicide to Save a Life, a 3-hour training that teaches community partners and stakeholders to recognize the warning signs, clues, and suicidal communications of people in psychological distress and identify what action to take to prevent a possible tragedy.

Why: As community staff and leaders, YOU have daily contacts with one another and with the community, making YOU well positioned to save lives. Our community is a healthier community when each of us is trained in noticing signs and symptoms of distress and knowing what to do.  

When: June 10 from 1-4pm


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
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