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 Hours:

Staffed by a librarian Monday – Thursday 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. 
Open for browsing and self-checkout until 5:00 pm. 
Open on Friday for browsing and self-checkout from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

During the school year, the library is open Wednesday evenings and on Sunday mornings from 9:00 am to 12:00 when school is in session. 

Contact the librarian for more information. 

New Books
The library is open!   We welcome you to come and browse the collection of books and journals.   We continue to add 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!

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.


We will take a short break for July and August and resume in September.  We have an exciting lineup for the fall, please contact Susan Whitman to RSVP.

Check out Past Events At The Library

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.

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.

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