Membership & Community
ABIDE [Advocacy at Beth Israel for Diversity Through Education] – Programming and advocacy work related to immigration, interfaith relations, and other political and social issues. Please contact David Scott or Liza Hirsch for more information.
The Adult Education Committee of the Miriam Browning Jewish Learning Center provides adult education on Jewish topics to stimulate, invigorate, and enrich our Jewish experience and understanding. Many classes, events and programs are offered throughout the year on a wide variety of topics and are taught by our clergy, Director of Lifelong Learning, and expert Scholars-in-Residence. If you have any ideas or would like to volunteer to help create future adult programming, please contact David Scott or Liza Hirsch.
Friends of Margolis Gallery provides enrichment to Congregation Beth Israel and to the entire community through high quality art exhibitions, educational programs, and distinguished art acquisitions which enhance our building and enrich our lives. We also offer musical programs and special art tours and trips.
ATID is the Hebrew word for “future.” This is the 20s to 40 young adult programming group. For more information, please contact Liza Hirsch.
Brotherhood is the organization of Beth Israel men that supports the congregation and the larger Jewish Community through its many activities. These include providing ushers for all of our religious services, sponsoring Boy Scout Troop 806 and Cub Scout Pack 806, providing Kiddush Cups for our B’nai Mitzvah, Confirmand Awards, Blood Drives, Annual Plant Sale, Annual JCC Book Fair, the Jewish Chautauqua Society, and much more. Volunteers are always welcomed and needed! For more information, please contact our staff liaison, David Scott.
Building, Grounds, and Maintenance
Our Committee evaluates and advises the Temple and Beth Israel Board of Trustees on technical questions involving the building, grounds, and maintenance issues. If you have expertise you wish to volunteer, please contact Pam Kutner or Michael Reddick.
Our Cemetery Committee oversees the administration of our two cemeteries at 1207 W. Dallas and 1101 Antoine. This includes handling plot sales and providing burial information and resources for our members. For more information, please contact Kathy Parven.
Our Committee finds ways to keep our college students connected and up-to-date with what’s happening at home at Beth Israel. At appropriate times during the year, students receive special care packages. In addition to care packages we also plan special social and mentoring events. Have a college student? We could use your help. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Rabbi Aaron Sataloff.
Communications / PR
The Communications and Public Relations Committee works to enhance all types of Temple communications to increase the awareness and visibility of its programs, people, and leadership within the congregation, the media, and the wider Houston community. It does this by using Beth Israel’s Website, the monthly Bulletin, letters, printed materials, messages, and news releases directed to our members as well as the local media. For more information, please contact Laura Kaplan, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Executive Director Pam Kutner, or Campus Technology Director Joan Gelfond.
Facilities Use / Enhancement
This committee focuses on developing clear and consistent guidelines, policies, and fees for the use of our facility by congregants, and finding ways to encourage members to use the facilities as an extension of their own homes for their families’ life cycle events. For more information, please contact Marsha Gilbert, Pam Kutner, or Michael Reddick.
The Family Engagement Committee provides pre-school through high school programs for families, such as our Family Shabbat programming. For more information, please contact David Scott or Kerri Zerlin.
Finance & Audit
This committee manages the financial affairs of the congregation including:
• Preparing and overseeing the Annual Budget of the congregation
• Managing the quality and integrity of the congregation’s financial reports
• Overseeing the congregation’s systems and internal controls
• Annually reviewing and approving selection of independent public accountants to audit the congregation’s financial statements
The Committee Chair serves as Treasurer of Beth Israel and provides monthly reports regarding the financial condition of the Temple at each Board meeting. For more information, please contact Pam Kutner, Executive Director.
Inclusion and Caring
The Inclusion Committee meets regularly to discuss ways in which the congregation can be more inclusive to all members including those with physical challenges, special needs, LGBTQ+ members, and other areas of inclusiveness. It also oversees the WAYS (“With all Your Soul”) program that helps members in various transitional stages in their lives including bereavement support, empty nesters, divorce support, and other areas. The committee has also worked on ways to enhance our new Sanctuary to be more accommodating to those with physical and sensory challenges. The committee will continue to implement strategies to be more inclusive in all of our programming and services throughout the campus.
The Caring Committee oversees all of the subcommittees dedicated to meeting the emotional and special needs of its congregants, especially in relation to illness, bereavement, personal relationships, and major life changes. Please contact Rabbi Adrienne Scott for more information.
The Insurance Committee reviews polices for personnel and other benefits including, building liability, commercial coverage, and campus insurance. Please contact Pam Kutner with questions.
Congregation Beth Israel has an active Israel Advocacy Committee that promotes Israel education throughout our congregation. Follow this link to our Israel Advocacy Committee page which contains links to various sites promoting Israel. Please contact Rabbi David Lyon or David Scott for more information.
The Leadership Development Committee facilitates the development of future leaders of our congregation. The Committee invites groups of members who are interested in becoming more engaged in congregational activities and assuming leadership responsibilities in Beth Israel to participate in a series of sessions designed to educate the participants about our rich history, our current structure, and our future challenges and opportunities. For more information, please contact staff liaison Pam Kutner.
The Library Committee serves to enhance the collections of the Hyman Judah Schachtel collection and to encourage awareness and usage of the facility. The Committee oversees library and archives policies, and supports the monthly Readers’ Group program, which frequently invites authors to discuss their works in live interviews. For more information, please contact Judy Weidman.
Our MBJLC programs are designed to nurture a strong Jewish identity and sense of commitment to Judaism within our students and families through a variety of fun, stimulating learning, and social activities. There are many ways to get involved from helping with a family learning day, to organizing and chaperoning a class activity or trip, to volunteering to serve on our MBJLC Board which assists our staff in creating safe, meaningful, and fun religious educational experiences for our children. If you would like to volunteer, please contact the Miriam Browning Jewish Learning Center at 713-271-7369. Please contact David Scott or Jennifer Quick for more information.
The Membership Committee and its subcommittees are charged with handling all aspects of Temple membership – from recruiting and integration of new members to retention of current members.
The Membership Recruitment Committee establishes programs to reach out to unaffiliated members of the community, including interfaith couples, to encourage membership in the Congregation Beth Israel family. The Committee talks to all applicants as their applications are processed for approval. If you know someone searching for a Temple home or would like to volunteer or actively serve on the Committee, please contact Liza Hirsch.
The Membership Integration Committee is devoted to welcoming all new members to Beth Israel as soon as they are approved for membership. Activities are created throughout the year to help new members integrate into our synagogue’s life. If you enjoy working with and meeting new people and getting to know your members at Beth Israel, this is the committee for you. For more information, please contact Liza Hirsch.
The Membership Retention Committee develops programs that recognize and appreciate existing congregants. These programs include Volunteer Shabbat, Heritage Shabbat (lifelong members), Birthday and Anniversary recognition, and meetings with the Clergy. The Committee encourages members to become active participants in their Beth Israel family. If you wish to host a meeting with the clergy or participate in other activities of this committee, please contact Liza Hirsch.
Outreach / Interfaith
The Beth Israel Outreach/Interfaith Committee serves to welcome all who are interested in learning more about Judaism, whether they were born Jewish, are considering conversion to Judaism, or are raising Jewish children. The Committee supports participants in our Basic Judaism classes in many ways including organizing special workshops and programs throughout the year on topics such as how to handle the holidays, navigating Interfaith relationships, and the challenges faced by Interfaith couples and families. Volunteers are always welcome! For more information, please contact Rabbi Adrienne Scott.
The Security Committee works closely with Beth Israel’s & Shlenker School’s Board of Trustees to address security issues across the Beth Israel campus. The Committee advises and supervises in all matters relating to the security of the synagogue, school building, and its membership. For more information, please contact any of the staff liaisons, Joan Gelfond, Michael Reddick, Michelle Barton, David Scott, or Pam Kutner.
Shlenker School Board
The Shlenker School, the first Reform Jewish Day School in Texas, offers an academically excellent program, integrating secular and Judaic studies, for children aged 15 months through the fifth grade. The Shlenker Board of Trustees is the governing body that oversees the financial well being and stability for future generations of Shlenker students. Trustees may be parents or members of the greater community. For more information, please contact The Shlenker School, 713-270-6127 or Shlenker Principal Michelle Barton.
Our mission is to enhance and support Congregation Beth Israel through special programming, fundraising, as well as offering Temple women the opportunity to establish new friendships and a sense of community within our congregation. We provide opportunities to celebrate and learn about Judaism, social justice, and women’s issues while encouraging an overall spiritual and individual growth. Join us and make Sisterhood your home for lifelong connections. We can be reached in the Gift Shop at 713-777-4315, at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can contact staff liaison Cantor Star Trompeter.
Our Social Justice Committee seeks to grant members of our congregation the ability to give back to our community by organizing volunteer projects, food and clothing drives, and educational programs. Some of our projects include:
• High Holiday Food Drive (in partnership with our congregational youth)
• Christmas Day volunteering at Ronald McDonald House & the VA
• The Gathering Place
• Mitzvah Day
• Summer Interns Program
In addition to these ongoing efforts, the Social Justice Committee organizes a variety of other volunteer opportunities. More information can be found in the Bulletin, the weekly E-news, and the Friday Night Guide distributed each week at Shabbat services. For more information on these efforts, to join the committee, or to express interest in volunteering, please contact staff liaisons Rabbi Aaron Sataloff or David Scott.
Beth Israel’s Technology Committee advises the Senior Staff and Board of Trustees on matters of technology and information management and offers technical advice on a range of technology directions, strategies, policies, plans, priorities, and needs of the Temple. We also review both current and proposed projects for systems, infrastructure, and procedures and bring emerging technology issues to the attention of the Beth Israel Board. Our new Temple website is an important focus of the Committee and we are always interested in having new Committee members join us. Have some great ideas? Web design or experience? Have a few hours a week to keep the website updated? We can use your help. New volunteers do not need to be experts in the understanding or implementing technology. Please contact Campus Technology Director Joan Gelfond or Executive Director Pam Kutner for more information.
This committee, under the guidance of Rabbi Lyon and Cantor Trompeter, reviews all worship services to ensure that the setting and substance of each service enhances the experience for as many of our congregants as possible. The Committee continuously reviews and analyzes topics such as music, our physical worship setting, structure of our services, and the Oneg Shabbat. The Committee invites and appreciates feedback concerning these or any other related topics at: CBIWorshipCommittee@hotmail.com.
E-mail responses are shared anonymously among the Committee and remain topics of ongoing discussion and analysis. For more information, please check our Worship section on our web or contact Rabbi David Lyon or Cantor Star Trompeter.