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
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.
ALL MEETINGS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE WILL BE ON ZOOM AT 1:30 PM. RSVP TO Susan Whitman TO OBTAIN ZOOM LINKS.
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.
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:
(713) 820-6410, Direct Line
(713) 771-6221 ext. 370
Remember the Library Catalog is available 24 hours a day. Go to www.beth-israel.org 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
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