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5 Nisan 5784 - April 13, 2024

Parshat Tazria

Rabbi's Reflections

-Baheret: Substance over Form-

Parshat Tazria discusses tzara’at, a spiritual malady impacting a person’s body, clothing, home and utensils. Among the various kinds of skin eruptions is something called “baheret,” which the Torah describes as appearing as a bright spot. According to the Midrash, “Baheret (a bright spot) symbolizes Greece, which made herself conspicuous in its decrees against the Jewish people and told them: Write on the horn of an ox that you have no portion in the God of Israel” (Vayikra Rabbah 15:9). In order to help explain the connection the Midrash makes between baheret, a striking, bright spot on the skin and the decree of the Greeks, I would like to explore the words of Rav Soloveitchik, who writes as follows: “Why did the Greeks write on the horn of an ox? ... The Greeks and Hellenist sympathizers did not necessarily want to uproot Judaism completely. Instead, metaphorically speaking, they wanted Judaism to be inscribed on the horn of an ox. They preferred a style of Judaism that was external and superficial, defined by aesthetics rather than its inner essence. This is baheret. The Greeks contended that form was more important than content. One’s feelings were less important than what one shows outwardly. The Talmud (Archin 10b) describes a mortar and pestle that dated back to Moshe’s time which was used to grind the incense and had become worn out. The Sages brought craftsmen from Alexandria to repair the utensils and artisans to adorn them with gold, but the functionality of these vessels was not restored. The mortar and pestle were no longer capable of grinding the incense. Once the gold was removed, however, the mortar and pestle once again worked properly. While the outside world focuses on the beauty of an item, Judaism is concerned with the inner essence. We would rather have a vessel that is somewhat worn but functions than one that is beautiful but non-functional” (Chumash Mesoret HaRav, Parshat Tazria 13:25). 

Baharet is that which shines, stands out and illumes. Thus, baheret represents superficiality, form and outward presentation. The Greeks wanted a kind of Judaism that resembled its own values and worldview. However, as the Rav notes, Judaism focuses more on the inner-world than the outer – valuing substance over form, meaning over material, the real over the artificial. While the Greeks wanted a Judaism merely inscribed “on the horn of an ox,” that is “a shiny thing to look at,” like baheret, we know that our Torah requires so much more – it requires our sincerity, our commitment, our intellect, resources and all of our heart. 

This Shabbat, let us consider our investment in our own Jewish life. Let us consider how we approach our faith, God and Torah, and ask ourselves, “Am I building up my inner-Jewish life? Am I prioritizing the right things? Am I engaging with my Judaism wholeheartedly and sincerely? Am I more concerned with the substance of my spiritual journey than how that journey looks to others?” Judaism is not merely something to look at. Judaism is deep, it is real, it is eternal and it is who and what we are! Thus, in order to realize the inner essence of our faith, we must commit our whole-selves to it. Indeed, Pirkei Avot’s assertion, “Do not focus on the vessel, rather, focus on what’s inside” is not just sage advice, it speaks to the very way in which we should approach our Judaism and our spiritual lives. 

Shabbat Shalom!

- Rabbi Dan

Schedule of Services at B'nai Abraham

Friday Night

Mincha/Kabbalat Shabbat


Candle Lighting





Youth Services












CTI Announcements

Reminder to pick up your mishloach manot bags from the shul. Bags are marked with members’ names. Must be picked up this Sunday, April 14 by 11:30am. 

Rabbi Millner and CTI member Dr. J.E. Wolfson will each teach a class for the Yoms program at Shalom Austin on April 15, and the CTI community is encouraged to attend:

6:00 – 6:45 PM

Israel 101

Rabbi Dan Millner | Congregation Tiferet Israel

Since October 7, more people are thinking about and talking about Israel than ever before. However, many people feel held back due to a lack of information. Come join this session to gain a strong foundation to feel comfortable and competent joining the Israel conversation.


7:00 – 7:45 PM

“Jewish Resisters, Though”: Why There Has Been Reluctance to Apply the “Upstander” Label to Jews in the Holocaust

Dr. J.E. Wolfson | Texas Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Advisory Commission

A large proportion of museum exhibits and popular films and literature on the Holocaust elects to spotlight and applaud the actions of “Righteous Gentiles” who rescued Jews, but not the actions of Jews themselves. What might explain this longstanding tunnel vision or the fact that so few people have even chosen to question it? This presentation will offer answers to that question and will examine fascinating case studies of Jews who resisted the Nazi assault and continue to complicate popularly accepted notions of heroism and martyrdom. Dr. Wolfson suggests that the tendency to privilege stories of non-Jewish rescue of Jews over Jewish resistance reveals much about how our culture has sought to define and remember the Holocaust. We cannot approach a fuller understanding of Holocaust history without acknowledging the challenges, suffering, courage, and selflessness that helped shape Jewish resistance.


Attendance is free, but registration is required.

To learn more about the evening’s classes and to register, visit: Yom's Educational Electives | Shalom Austin

The total eclipse event at the Chapin Ranch was a great success. Despite the gloomy weather forecasts for cloudy skies, the heavens cooperated just in time and we all got to see the eclipsed sun, the solar corona, and even a large pink prominence, as well as Venus and Jupiter. Very big thank yous to David and Rita Chapin for being such wonderful hosts, to Julie Van Keer for procuring and serving the food, to Rachel Cohen for running the kids program, and to all the attendees for sharing this once in a lifetime experience. Here is a link to our photo album. We also want to thank all the members and guests who made donations to the Tendler Fund:

  • David and Janice Abrams
  • Joanna and David Arch-Andorsky
  • Alex Funderburk
  • Ray and Debbie Groyer
  • Hugo Martel
  • Richard and Sarah Matzner
  • Deborah Matzner
  • Dan and Yael Millner
  • Premana Premadi
  • Judy and Jeff Remz
  • Joshua Richman
  • Jay and Carol Rubin
  • Larry and Ester Smith
  • Adi and Vera Smith
  • Healy Smith
  • Stephen and Dale Sonnenberg
  • Steven Swernovsky
  • Henna Tatham
  • Stephanie Witkowsky
  • Emily and Gabe Yaffe

Please join us for this year's Yom HaShoah Commemorative Event, in partnership with Shalom Austin and taking place at the Dell JCC Epstein Family Community Hall on Sunday, May 5th at 7 pm. Content is appropriate for children ages 9 and older. 

This year, our program will include a special tribute to the victims of the October 7th, 2023, terror attack. It promises to be an evening of reflection and honor, featuring insightful commentary, live music, and a poignant candle lighting ceremony led by Mike O'Krent.

We would be honored by your presence at this impactful and meaningful occasion of remembrance. To sign up click on link below and please share on Facebook.

For security reasons, it is recommended that you register online by Friday May 3rd.

Register Here!

Please join us for a community healing circle and interactive group session facilitated by Healing Hebrews.

When: Sunday April 14 at 2 pm

Price: Suggested Donation to Hadassah at $18

Please email questions and RSVP to The session will take place in Northwest Austin and we will send location information once you have RSVPed.

(Please add to you contact list to prevent spam box delivery.)

Tell America's Leaders to Stand with Israel!

Anti-Israel activists are calling members of Congress. Make your pro-Israel voice heard by calling your elected officials to make clear you stand with our ally Israel against Hamas terrorism!

Support Israel

Shalom Austin Emergency Campaign.


Friends of the Israel Defense Forces

Israel American Council

At War: Heal Israel Now

Ach Gadol for Lone Soldiers





Donation Form.




Thank you to Josh Rosenberg & Kendra Fox for sponsoring Kiddush in honor of the birthdays of their children, Kaleb & Arielle.

Effective with all kiddushes booked after the beginning of Passover (April 22nd), the new prices will be: 

  • $250 for a standard Kiddush
  • $50 more for a cake added to Kiddush 

For all Kiddushes booked and paid for prior to the beginning of Passover, the current prices will remain the same.

Additionally, the Kiddush calendar is opened up for the remainder of 2024 so that you can book as far in advance as you would like this year and still pay the lower prices. 

THANK YOU for supporting CTI and our community with your sponsorship! Also a big thank you to the many people who help with kiddush prep and cleanup!!! Your efforts are very much appreciated! 

Sponsor A Kiddush

Mazel Tov!

  • Rick Goldberg, Birthday April 13
  • Arielle Rosenberg, Birthday April 13
  • Liel Gordon, Birthday April 13
  • Matthew Ross, Birthday April 17

*Please update your shulcloud account with birthdays, anniversaries, and Yahrtzeits to make sure they're highlighted in the Spiel. If you have any questions on how to do so email*

Yahrtzeit Remembrances

  • Herman Spertus, Father of Philip Spertus, on Monday 7 Nissan
  • Joanna Grevey, Grandmother of Sean Clifford, on Tuesday 8 Nissan

*Please update your shulcloud account with birthdays, anniversaries, and Yahrtzeits to make sure they're highlighted in the Spiel. If you have any questions on how to do so email*

Torah Classes at CTI

Take Your Tanakh Series

Tuesday Night | 7:00pm - The Book of Isaiah

Wednesday Morning | 8:15am - The Song of Songs

Click Here for more information on how to join these exciting classes.


Thank you to Arthur and Barb Altman and to

Louis Stone for their Maot Chitin donations.

Thank you to members and guests who made donations

to the Joel and Debbie Tendler Fund for the Eclipse Event.

Thank you to our anonymous donors.

Make a Donation

Contact Us!

Rabbi Dan Millner: 

Phone: 512-410-0336 X101

For more contact numbers and emails, visit our website.

Refuah Shelayma To:

  • Allene Novy-Portnoy; Hannah Bassa bat Sarah Osnat 
  • Avshalom ben Hannah Bassa
  • Cindy Newman 
  • Janet Goldberg; Shayna Masha bat Chasha Mina
  • Ken Friedman
  • Rebecca Millner; Rivkah bat Shoshana
  • Sheina Ruchel bat Henya Leah
  • Tzvi David ben Rivka Golda
  • Yoel Simcha ben Chaya Risha 
  • Sulta bat Nedgma
  • Zvi Aharon ben Bayla
  • Yaira bat Sarah
  • Tamar bat Chaya
  • Ilana bat Gheita
  • HaRav Avram Meir ben Eli Yosef v'Shira Chanah.
  • Rabbi Harold Liebowitz, HaRav Chaim Alter ben Necha. 
  • Baruch Akiva Ben Rivka
  • Miriam bat Helen
  • Rivka Michal bat Sarah Chana
  • Lori Garza 
  • Yisroel Natan ben Sarah
  • Masha Gitil bas Chaya Yita
  • Allen Levinson; Avraham Yitzchak ben Gittel
  • Moshe ben Reizel
  • Avigail Malkah bat Devorah
  • David Moshe ben Sylvia
  • Shoshana bat Yocheved
  • Miriam bat Rachel v'Mordechai
  • Alta Shoshana bat Shulamit
  • Meir Psachia ben Tziril
  • Geni Berman Abitbol
  • Beilya Golda bat Leah
  • Yosef Yehoshua ben Sarah
  • Jonathan Malawer (Yosef ben Bracha)
  • Fivel ben Sarah HaLevi
  • Adam ben Chanah
  • Rafael ben Sheindal Leah
  • Aharon Asher ben Chaya Naomi
  • Esther Malka Fraida bat Serel Chaya Raiza
  • Esther Reva bat Malka
  • Avraham ben Rut
  • Sheva Eva bat Bella.
  • Moshe ben Rut
  • Shulkah Malka bat Tziporah
  • Chandal bat Basia
  • Shmuel Dovid bat Malka
  • Anthony Ben Devorah
  • Shayna Leah bat Yehudit
  • Reuven ben Shira
  • Batyah bat Sara
  • Rachel Tzivia bat Malka
  • Chava Golda bat Leah
  • David Yosef ben Aga
  • Layla Tzohara bat Naomi Rivkeh
  • Shimon Yaakov ben Sarah
  • Shalom Ephraim ben Esther Breindel

 Wishing all Cholei Yisrael a Refuah Shlayma. 

Dear Tiferet Friends, 

If you placed a name on the Refuah Shelayma list and G-d willing the person is well, 

please let us know. Also, if you have a friend or family member who needs 

prayers for healing, again please let us know at  

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