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Congregation Beth Israel's Hyman Judah Schachtel Library houses one of the finest collections of books of Jewish interest in the Southwest United States. The Houston Friends of Rabbi Hyman Judah Schachtel founded the library in 1967, in honor of his outstanding service to our city. The contributors included such notables as the De Menil, Wortham, George R. Brown and Abercrombie families. The original gift has presently grown into well over 20,000 volumes including an extensive archive of materials dating back to the beginning of the Congregation in the mid 1800s.The Association of Jewish Libraries has accredited the Shachtel Library at the Advanced level--a designation few synagogue libraries have attained.

Primarily aimed at serving Beth Israel members and its schools, Beth Israel's Schachtel Library welcomes everyone in the community and serves as a reference source for scholars nationwide.

Beth Israel's Schachtel Library is divided into two sections:
  1. The Hyman Judah Schachtel collection serves adults with books that are of specific Jewish interest or by Jewish authors for both scholarly and leisure time reading.
  2. The Myrtle and Walter Loewenstern Children's Library is designed for children and has both general interest books such as math, history, picture books, and more, as well as Jewish interests including holidays, crafts, music, folktales, and Bible stories

Karff Interview from 2007

In 2007 the Houston Metropolitan Research Center conducted a series of interviews of notable Houston leaders, and Rabbi Karff was one of the subjects. They have shared the interview with us, and it is now posted below. It is available in a variety of formats, to suit different computer systems.

Click here for the interview with Rabbi Samuel Karff.


Digitized Archival Oral Histories now available !

In 1975 Gay Block and Linda May interviewed over 70 congregants in preparation for their film "A Tribute to Spirit: the Beth Israel Experience”. Thanks to a generous grant from the Texas Jewish Historical Society, the cassette tapes of these interviews and a number of subsequent interviews were professionally converted to digital format and are now available for our use on this website.

To hear the interview, simply click on the name of the subject below, which will open a file that can be downloaded to your computer. There may be two files to download for the full interview. Enjoy hearing the voices from Beth Israel’s history!

Arsht, Marjorie
Lapin, David
Astricht, Sis
Lapin, Susan
Battlestein, Harry
Lasher, Doris Nathan
Battlestein, Trudy
Le Burkien, Michael
Battlestein, Virginia 1
Levy, Edna
Battlestein, Virginia 2
Levy, Tillie Jacobs
Bender, Jack
Lewis, Kenneth
Bender, Sophia
Lewis, Lou I
Bowman, Henrietta
Lewis, Lou II
Brandon, Elizabeth
Lippman, Vivian
Brochstein, I.S.
Lowenstein, Suzanne
Brown, Nina
Malev, Belle I
Burke, Irving
Malev, Belle II
Burke, Julia Kormorn
McDonald, Judge Gabrielle
Coleman, Mildred
Meyer, Jerry
Dannenbaum, Maurice I
Meyer, Leopold
Dannenbaum, Maurice II
Miller, Bertha (1975)
Dannenbaum, Seline I
Miller, Bertha I (1993)
Dannenbaum, Seline II
Miller, Bertha II (1993)
Epstein, Bernard
Nathan, Charles (1975)
Epstein, Fran
Nathan, Charles (1992)
Feld, Benji
Nathan, Harriet
Feld, Effie
Nimitz, Joyce
Finger, Gertrude Levy
Perwien, Edmond
France, Eve
Premazon, Judy
France, Kim
Premazon, Michael
Friedlander, Alfred
Radinsky, Rabbi Joseph
Friedman, Annie Nathan Cohen
Rayzor, Eugenia
Friedman, Lloyd
Rubin, Gelta
Glosserman, Brad
Schachtel, Barbara
Gold, Leonard
Schachtel, Dr. Hyman Judah
Goldberg, Chaim I
Schatz, Rabbi Steven
Goldberg, Chaim II
Schechter, Joyce
Gordon, Harvey
Scheps, Ricky
Gordon, Sondra
Schwartz, Mose
Grossberg, Mark
Schoenmann, Annie
Grossberg, Peppy
Schwarz, Balbine
Gruner, Ceil
Schwartz, Hilda
Hecht, Bob
Schwarz, Hulda
Hecht, Pauline Meyer I
Segal, Rabbi Jack
Hecht, Pauline Meyer II
Sheinberg, A.
Hecht, Punkin Deutcher
Sher, Horty
Hecht, Shirley
Sher, Malcolm
Herman, Carl
Shlenker, Bertha Alyce
Herman, Gloria
Sisterhood Presidents I
Herzog, Chaim
Sisterhood Presidents II
Hofeller, Lorraine
Stone, Fannie
Kahn, Mike
Stone, John K.
Kaplan, Sam
Sunshine, Sarna
Kaufman, Albert
Torah Convocation I
Keller, Theo I
Torah Convocation II
Keller, Theo II
Warren, Naomi
Knapp, Rev Arthur
Weil, Dede
Kosberg, Livingston
Westheimer, I. Mark
Kosberg, Saranne
Westheimer, I.B.
Landa, Adeline
Wolff, Curtis
Landa, Johnny
Yoskowitz, Rabbi Herbert
Landa, L.M.
Zollars, Betty

Contact the Temple Librarian:

(713) 820-6410, Direct Line
(713) 771-6221 ext. 370
9:00-2:00 Tuesday-Friday
or by appointment for research assistance.

The Beth Israel Archives
The Beth Israel Archives document the activities of the congregation from its earliest days, with records of meetings, pictures and documents chronicling the life of an active Temple. The archives are available for use with the assistance of the librarian. Please contact the librarian by phone at (713) 771-6221 x370, or email for more information.

The Readers' Group

Join us for our Readers’ Group. We meet on the 3rd Wednesday of every month at 1:30 p.m. in the President's Room at the Temple. All congregants and friends are welcome to join this convivial group. Look for meeting announcements in the calendar of events.


Schachtel Library sponsors Coffee Talk:
On March 26, 2017 Susan Kaufman, Manager of the Clayton Genealogical Library, gave a presentation on Jewish Genealogy, "Finding your Roots.”


Photographer: Stephanie Maierson



Readers Group presents HAMILTON, THE MUSICAL
on Wednesday, December 14, 2016.

A creative suggestion by member Dede Wadler led to a fabulous adaptation of the popular Broadway musical, Hamilton in December.  Months of rehearsals by Readers Group volunteers, diligent video input by Wayne Dorris and help from the IT department of Beth Israel resulted in a wonderful overview of the play with historical background. Clever costumes and musical  numbers with the libretto displayed on monitors enhanced the whole experience. A big thank you goes out to Dede and Wayne and all of the actors who had a lot of fun producing the event.




Watch the first part of our presentation on You Tube!


At the October 19th Readers' Group meeting, Robyn Shkolnik again led the discussion of the ERJCC Community Read for 2016, "Orchestra of Exiles" by Josh Aronson. The group will be attending the author talk on Nov. 1 at the Book Fair, and have been invited to a pre-lecture reception.


Pictured Left to Right: Ann Reva Jacobson, Susan Shechter, Frieda Dow, June Waldman, Faith Marshall, Robyn Shkolnik.


Anita Diamant, author of "The Boston Girl," meets with the
Readers' Group via Skype on January 20, 2016.
A good crowd of 26 participants welcomed her warmly.

Beth Israel Readers Group attends reception at ERJCC for Community Read Nov. 10, 2015

After discussing the Community Read "Love and Miss Communication” by Elyssa Friedland, facilitated by ERJCC blogger Robyn Shkolnik, the group meets the author at a book club meet-and-greet.

Pictured, from left: Robyn Shkolnik, Barbara Hordern, Author Elyssa Friedland, Judy Weidman, Mady Amsterdam, Ann Reva Jacobson, Janet Sanders.


Library Accreditation

The Schachtel Library has received it Certificate of Accreditation

Beth Israel Librarian Judy Weidman is being presented our
certificate of Accreditation Renewal by Amalia Warshenbrot,
President of the Association of Jewish Libraries at the
Association's annual conference in June 2016.


Archival Materials Available!

The Library Catalog is available online!
Click here to search!

Summer Library Hours

Regular Summer Hours
9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Temple Librarian
Judy Weidman
will be in the Library
9 a.m. - 2 p.m.,
Tuesday - Friday

You may contact
our Librarian here.

The Readers’ Group meets:

We will take a break
for the summer,
and will resume
in October.

October 18
Prayers for the Living
by Alan Cheuse
The discussion of this novel
will be led by Wayne Dorris.

November 15
Beth Israel Readers' Group will participate in
ERJCC Book Fair
Community Read
Take your pick!
Conviction by Julia Dahl
Bed-Stuy is Burning: a Novel
by Brian Platzer

December 20
Discovering  the City of David
by Aharon Horovitz.
Slide show and discussion by Wayne Dorris

January 2018
Irena's Children
by Tilar J. Mazzeo
The extraordinary story of
a woman who saved
2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto.
Discussion will be led by Arlene Baker.
(Houston Public library
has lots of copies)



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