Lifelong Learning

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 Catalog is available online 24 hours a day!
Click here to search!

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 Lewis President’s Room at the Temple. All congregants and friends are welcome to join this convivial group.

2018- 19 Schedule for Readers Group:

  • October 17The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman. Betty Weiner will lead the discussion. 
  • November 14 (note change of date due to Thanksgiving) – The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish. Barbara Hordern will facilitate. ERJCC Community Read. 
  • December 19: The Lost Family by Jenna Blum. Robyn Shkolnick, our ERJCC Book Festival connection, will again lead the discussion, following the appearance of the author on Nov.8 
  • January 16, 2019: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. Rabbi Chase Foster will facilitate the discussion. 
  • February 20, 2019: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Happens in the End by Atul Gawande. Dr. Alan Hurwitz will facilitate the discussion. 

Watch the Bulletin, eNews and Friday Night Guides for future selections.

Check out pictures from some of our exciting past events!

On August 15, 2018, the Readers Group sponsored the showing of the movie “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”. The charming film was adapted from the novel our group discussed at a past meeting, and all enjoyed the summer break with refreshments.

Our latest book reviews are available to read online!
Click here to read!

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

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.

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.

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:

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

Library Hours


Wednesday, during Religious School


Sunday, during Religious School

*Holiday hours are announced in the Bulletin and weekly eNews.

Temple Librarian, Judy Weidman, will be in the Library Tuesday – Friday

You may contact our Librarian at or (713) 820-6410.

The Readers Group

Scroll through the images below to view photos from some of our fun, exciting events! Author Claudia Kolker meets the Readers Group on

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

Book Reviews

Check back here to read our latest reviews!

Yom Kippur Symposia

YOM KIPPUR SYMPOSIA SPEAKERS The links below will take you to the words of our Yom Kippur Symposia speakers. 2018 / 5779 Click

The Hurricane Harvey Flood Fund

Hurricane Harvey left Houston and surrounding areas in a shambles, but the great people of Houston are banding together to help and heal. Your help is welcome and needed. You may send Gift Cards (Kroger, Target, HEB, Lowe’s, or Visa/Mastercard, etc.) to Congregation Beth Israel. They will be immediately distributed to area neighbors to assist in replacing essential items and children’s school supplies.

You may also Donate directly to Congregation Beth Israel by clicking here. All funds will go directly to aid those who need immediate help. These funds will NOT be held to be allocated later. On behalf of our clergy (Rabbi David Lyon, Rabbi Adrienne Scott, Rabbi Joshua Herman, Rabbi Chase Foster, and Cantor Trompeter), David Scott, Executive Director, and Bruce Levy, Temple President, we are very grateful for your kindness, generosity, and help.

Hurt has no shame and no label; we just need to heal one another.

Rabbi David Lyon

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