The Library Catalog is available online 24 hours a day!

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:

  • 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.
  • 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

The Library’s 2021 Hours:
Monday  – Thursday 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
Direct phone: 713-820-6410
Masks and Social Distancing Required

New Books in the Library August 2021

The library is open!   We welcome you to come and browse the collection of books and journals.   We have many new  titles focusing on Jewish history, contemporary Israel affairs, and Holocaust history, as well as a broad range of fiction on Jewish subjects. 

Come see us and find your next great read!

Shavit, Shabtai                                      Head of the Mossad
Gordis, Daniel                                       Saving Israel
Ross, Dennis and Makovsky, David         Be Strong and of Good
Mays, David                                          Forging ties, forging passports:
                                      Migration and the modern Sephardic Diaspora
Heinz, Annelise                                    Mah Jongg: A Chinese game and
                                                     the making of modern American culture
Branches, Yochi                                    Akiva’s Orchard
Steil, Jennifer                                        Exile Music
Greene, Joshua                                     Unstoppable
Blau, Sarah                                           The Others
Strauss, Gwen                                       The Nine
Adams, Adina                                       Nesting Dolls
Goldman, Francisco                               Monkey Boy
Van de Peise, Selma                              My Name is Selma
DeWalle, Edmund                                 Letters to Camondo
Weiner, Jennifer                                   That Summer
Koven, Suzanne                                    Letter to a Young Female
Ozick, Cynthia                                       Antiquities
Wcker, Helene                                      Hidden Palace
Silva, Daniel                                          The Cellist
Lewis, Rachel                                        The Rabbi who Prayed with Fire
Haynes, Bruce                                       The Soul of Judaism: Jews of
                                                                     African Descent in America
Kaplan, Michael James                          Rhapsody
Adams, Sara Nisha                                The Reading List 
Meyerson, Amy                                     The Imperfects  

Readers Group

The Beth Israel Readers Group invites congregants and friends to our monthly meetings on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 1:30pm. Books are chosen from various subjects, and we welcome our Clergy and visiting facilitators. Skype interviews with authors are also offered periodically. We also participate in the annual ERJCC Community Read.

To be added to the list, please contact Temple Librarian Susan Whitman

2021 Schedule for Readers Group:

    • September 22:  An Unkosher Death  by Judith Finkel. The author will be speaking on her work.

      October 26: The Color of Love, by Marra Gad. Marra Gad will be presenting her work at Beth Israel as part of the Woolf Toomim Distinguished Lecture Series on January 11.

      November 17: Rhapsody, by Mitchell James Kaplan. Discussion of the Jewish Community Center Book Club Community Read 2021 (community event November 9).

      December 15:  The Imperfects: A Novel, by Amy Meyerson.  

      January 12, 2021:  Third Daughter, by Talia Carner. 




 Check out pictures from some of our exciting past events!

On January 29, 2019 the Schachtel Library sponsored “Using DNA in Genealogical Research”, a lecture by Franklin Carter Smith, Senior Library Services Specialist at the Clayton Genealogical Center. Over 30 interested visitors engaged in a fascinating study of the DNA testing commercial companies, and help in interpreting your own DNA analyses.

Schachtel Library presents third program on Jewish Genealogy

On Sunday, November 10, 2019 the Schachtel Library and Beth Israel’s Lifelong Learning Center presented “Our Jewish Heritage and Health”, a discussion of Jewish- Ashkenazic related genetic diseases.

Dr. Gary Frohlich, Patient Education Liason for Sonofi Genzyme, presented an informative discussion of the diseases associated with this group of Jews, as well as information on the most common, now treatable disease, Goucher disease.

Library 5

The Beth Israel Archives

Documents from the Earliest Years of Congregation Beth Israel

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.

Access online archival materials 24 hours a day!
Click here to view!

Speeches from past Yom Kippur Symposia are available to read online!
Click here to read!

Contact the Temple Librarian:

Susan Whitman
(713) 820-6410, Direct Line
(713) 771-6221 ext. 370

Remember the Library Catalog is available 24 hours a day. Go to and click on the Library home page to access. Requests for reserves can be sent to Susan or direct phone at 713 820 6410.

The Readers Group

Readers Group The Beth Israel Readers Group invites congregants and friends to our monthly meetings on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at

Archival Materials

Congregation Beth Israel Archival Materials “Bris Book” and documents concerning the “Basic Principles” history of Beth Israel: Now viewable online are images of documents

Treasures from the archives

Treasures from the Archives: A recently uncovered letter, circa 1972, thought to be Shirley Macow, who was Rabbi Schachtel’s secretary at the time.

New Books in the Library and Reviews

New Books in the Library 11/2020 FICTION: Waldman, Amy:      A Door in the Earth.An American college student travels to Afghanistan to work

Yom Kippur Symposia

YOM KIPPUR SYMPOSIA SPEAKERS The links below will take you to the words of our Yom Kippur Symposia speakers. 2021/5782 Click here to