Donations & Volunteers Needed: Annual Garage Sale!

Sisterhood Garage Sale, August 12, 2018


Update 7/24/18: Donations have been arriving at CBI daily! Thank you for your generous contributions.  We are still accepting garage sale items, but we are now in urgent need of volunteer help! Please consider donating your time to help us with this fun and rewarding event! Please fill out the Sign-Up Form below! 



We need all hands on deck for a variety of tasks, such as:

  • putting up flyers,
  • picking up donations,
  • sorting items,
  • setting up in Smith Auditorium, and
  • transporting any leftover donations to non-profits after the sale.

And, of course, we also need volunteers On the day of the sale, August 12! 

Bonus: Volunteers get access to an early preview and purchase of items!
Child Care for Sunday Aug. 12th during your volunteer hours can be arranged onsite, subsidized by Sisterhood.  

Please fill out the Volunteer Form above or contact Barbara Wanzer at 512-948-9862 or via email at

Thank you!!!



Time to get rid of all your clutter and un-needed stuff!

We are currently accepting donations for Sisterhood’s huge fundraiser, our annual garage sale on August 12th.  If you’d like to donate, bring your items to CBI or contact us at for pick up. 

Please bring your smaller items to CBI’s Music Room.  Donations are tax-deductible, and all proceeds go to CBI Youth Scholarships and other Sisterhood programs.  You may download a receipt for donations by clicking on the Donation Receipt button below. Receipts will also be available at the time of drop off during regular working hours. Unsold items will be donated to other local charities, such as children’s books to a local children’s shelter and clothes to various nonprofits.

Do you have furniture and other large items you would like to donate? Please fill out the Large-Item Donation Form which will allow you to upload photos of your items. You may also request a pick-up of your items. Click on the button below to fill out the form. 

Don't have any items to donate? Consider a monetary donation! 

We would be grateful for any amount: Every dollar helps! Just click on the Donate button below to make your contribution.

Thank you!!!


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Families Belong Together Rally

Saturday, June 30, 12pm–3pm, Texas State Capitol

Saturday, June 30, 12pm–3pm, Texas State Capitol

UPDATE 7/3/18: See our photos on our Photos page

UPDATE 6/29/18: Unable to "pray with your feet" and attend the rally? No worries! Consider making a donation to any or all of the following organizations:

Temple Emanuel of McAllen
Select "Social Action Fund" as the "Donation Type" and in the comments section, type "Refugees."

Respite Center of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley–Go Fund Me page:

Family Reunification and Bond Fund of the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES):

UPDATE 6/28/18: If you prefer to travel to the Capitol on your own, we will meet at the Tejano Monument on the Capitol grounds, just north of East 11th Street. See map and image below.

Please join CBI Sisterhood for the Families Belong Together Rally event at the Texas State Capitol on Saturday, June 30 to protest our government's recent policy of separating families at the border. The Austin rally, hosted by, will occur simultaneously with other events around the country in effort to send a clear message that the cruel, inhumane practice of separating families at the border must stop. Families Belong Together!

Sisterhood members will be riding the CapMetro 803 MetroRapid Bus to the rally and will meet at the Rosedale Bus Station at 4002 North Lamar Blvd. The bus stop is in front of the Taco Shack and across the street from Central Market.

When to meet: Saturday, June 30, at 11:00am at the Rosedale MetroRapid Station,
4002 North Lamar Blvd

Bus Fare: $1.25 for single ride; $2.50 for day pass; To purchase the fare in advance, visit the CapMetro Fare page. If paying on the bus, you will need exact change.

Rally Location: 1100 Congress Avenue (Texas State Capitol); Meeting initially at the Tejano Monument. See map and image below.

Click on the image to enlarge.


Note on the Capitol Bus Stations: The Southbound Capitol Station Bus Stop is at 12th and Guadalupe, two blocks west of the Capitol. To return north to the Rosedale Station, walk to the Northbound Capitol Bus Station at 13th and Lavaca. See the 803 MetroRapid webpage and this route map for more details.

Be sure to check the Keep Families Together website for tips and information on the event.

Questions? Email Lisa Meng at

July Sisterhood Retreat, July 7-8, 2018



July 7th, 2pm–7pm, with optional overnight stay
through July 8th
at Carla Siegle's Georgetown Ranch.

Grilling, swimming, sunning, arts & crafts for nonprofit donations, 10-20 minute lectures on media updates and refining this year's passion projects are just a few of the fun activities awaiting you.


The business meeting will begin at 5:30 PM and end at 7 PM. Carpooling will be made available upon request. 

Sisterhood's End-of-the-Year Dinner

Honoring Jean Hughes as 2018 Woman of Valor with Featured Speaker Gaylon Finklea Hecker

June 9, 2018, 5:00pm–7:00pm, Smith Auditorium,
Congregation Beth Israel, 3901 Shoal Creed Blvd., Austin, TX 78756


*This event has Passed.*
Visit the Gallery Page to see photos by Carol Calvery!

Please join us for Sisterhood's End-of-the-Year Dinner and installation of 2018-2019 Sisterhood Board members. Our featured speaker will be Gaylon Finklea Hecker:

Who are you? Complexities of Genealogical Research
and Personal Idententy

- Free for Sisterhood members -

Non-members welcome!
Pay at the door - $18 dinner only
$36 dinner & 2018-2019 Sisterhood membership dues

gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian options available
Questions? Contact Nancy Schumann,


Our annual hamantaschen event was a great success! For four days, Sisterhood gave our CBI students the opportunity to do some hands-on Judaism with rolling out, filling and folding hamantaschen. Now, after some students having helped over the course of a few years, their productivity was so great that some dough had to be held back from a morning class so an afternoon class would have something to work on! 

Lots of parents waiting for their children responded to requests for their help. Some helped for a half hour and some baked for a full session. And they all had fun in the kitchen. 

Sales were brisk. Sisterhood hamantschen teams have refined our baking and storage  techniques over the years. These accomplishments and a dough with butter AND cream cheese have made our cookies irresistible. Thank you to all of you who indulged your sweet tooth and purchased hamantaschen by the bag. The proceeds will support Sisterhood's efforts to build community in CBI, including providing scholarships for our students to go to Greene Family Camp and confirmation trips to Israel. 

And so CBI Purim revelers were well supplied with hamantaschen, making the celebration a night filled with delights for the eye, ear, and tongue. 

Mazel tov to our hamantaschen team Jeri Smith and Baihlah Rubin. Thank you to the leaders of our baking: Stacy Dinkins, Jolene Frank, Adina Friedman, Nancy Stewart, Kathy Gassman, and Nancy Taute. The hamantaschen leadership ranged from former Sisterhood presidents to a college student/CBI graduate. It can be your turn next. Contact Jeri Smith if you are interested in being part of the 2019 hamantaschen effort.

Good Times at Chai Tea

The Annual CBI Sisterhood Interfaith Chai Tea on Sunday, February 18th was a success! Much thanks to Ruth Pool and Margaret Gewirtzman for making it happen.

Sisterhood sold 173 tickets for the event and raised $3,300, $860 of which went to the YES Fund. If you've never heard of the YES Fund, one of the many projects they run in Israel is paying for Reform Rabbis to go into Israeli communities and create mother-daughter groups for B'nei mitzvah training, since female teens in Israel are not socially encouraged to read from the torah. The remaining net proceeds from the Chai Tea went towards CBI Youth group scholarships.

Thank you to everyone who participated. We can't wait to do it again next year!

Welcoming the Stranger

Nine to ten years ago, when I walked through the doors of CBI, I too was basically a stranger. But not for long.  I was welcomed with open arms and made to feel like family from the very start.

Over the course of the MLK Birthday week-end, CBI opened its doors to many refugees and immigrants, starting with a wonderful Shabbat dinner and services, followed by a weekend of speakers who deal with immigrant issues and refugee services. 

This wonderful week-end was the brainchild of Rabbi Epstein and made a success through her and her committee, chaired by Melissa Pepper, not to mention a lot of willing volunteers.

I asked Melissa and Rabbi Epstein to tell me some of the challenges involved with organizing the event.  

For Rabbi Epstein, it started with the 2016 Elections, and wanting to do something positive that would make a difference. This desire led Rabbi Epstein to contact Rabbi David Segal of the Religious Action Center (whom she knew through Rabbinical School) to discuss immigration/refugee issues and interfaith social justice. 

The dinner was to open the doors and bring folks together. Since a lot of the recent refugees were new, it wasn’t known how many folks would show up, but the response was incredible, and it was wonderful seeing people talk about what they faced in their home countries, as well as CBI members relating stories of when their ancestors were refugees. 

Rabbi Epstein found most of the presenters, and got CBI connected with the RAC (Religious Action Center) through Rabbi Segal. Even when there were glitches, everyone was very patient.

People were very hands-on, and even people who weren’t on the committee were going above and beyond. One volunteer from Beth Shalom took it upon herself to coordinate the speakers, do press releases, and otherwise help make the event a success.

Many of the attendees had only positive things to say, and some even asked to be on next year’s committee. People were impressed with the quality of speakers. The event ended up being more like a conference.

Some of the speakers included Mayor Steve Adler; Dr. Robert Abzug, Regent Chair of Jewish Studies at U.T; Julian Aguilar, a freelance reporter for the Tribune, reporting on politics and border affairs; and Joseph Chacon, Assistant Chief with APD, just to name a few.

If it’s anything like this year’s, I look forward to next year’s event!

- Carol Calvery

Dr. David Kessler Teaches Heart Health at Sisterhood Brunch and Learn

A group of around 20 gathered January 21 in CBI’s Smith Hall for a Sisterhood Brunch and Learn focusing on heart health. Guest speaker and CBI member Dr. David Kessler with his heart hospital colleague, Dr. Vivek Goswami, shared an hour of vital and highly relevant information about diet, exercise and routine screening tests that can help all of us live more productive lives. The two doctors also fielded audience questions on subjects ranging from daily aspirin dosing as a heart attack preventative to individual specific health issues, providing everyone with over an hour of one on one consultation.

Sisterhood board member Nicole Villalpando provided vegetarian chili, corn muffins, fruit, cookies and tea for participants. 

Stay tuned for the next brunch and learn in this Spring’s series: Parenting 101, on April 22nd. 

“Welcoming the Stranger”: Reflecting, Learning, and Acting on Immigration Issues



Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend Symposium at CBI
January 12-14, 2018

We invite you to join us in bringing these important voices and conversations to our community and beyond.  Support will go towards underwriting meals, honoraria for speakers, enabling the community to attend at a minimal cost, and future social justice programming at Congregation Beth Israel, through our Social Action Fund. 

  To REGISTER, and for more information about sponsorship opportunities, visit

Volunteer Opportunities

We are looking for volunteers over the weekend to help with greeting, welcoming speakers, registration, cooking, set-up, and more.  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Rabbi Rebecca Epstein at

Chanukah Sale at the Judaica Shop

HUGE PRE-Chanukah Sale!

DECEMBER 3, 2017


15% off ALL Merchandise with 3 exclusions*


Do your Chanukah shopping and save! The shop is fully stocked with new merchandise. Come see our selections of menorahs, gelt, toys, wrapping paper, jewelry and gifts.

Browse the special order Tallit book, get your Chanukah gelt here, and help Sisterhood provide camp and Israel trip scholarships for our youth.


A Request for Your Prayers

Rob and Leslie Rosner

Rob and Leslie Rosner

We have the unfortunate announcement to make that our dear friend and Brotherhood President, Rob Rosner, is undergoing surgery in the next week for cancer. Prayers for refuah shlemah and good wishes for Rob and his family are greatly appreciated.

Please keep your eyes on Sisterhood News for details of how Sisterhood will be helping to support the Rosners in the coming weeks. 

If you would like to personally offer your help or support, you can contact the Rosners at

URJ Responds to the Nevada Shooting

From personal messages I've received from other Sisterhood members this week, I know many of us were deeply shaken by the violent murder of 59 people and the wounding of 527 others in Las Vegas on the night of October 1st by a single gunman, using weapons modified to shoot automatically -- the only purpose of which was to kill as many people as quickly as possible.

Gun violence has become all too common in the United States, and many of us, as Reform Jews, feel the need to respond. The URJ has done so, in this statement. Please read it and pray for the lives lost this week, as well as think about what you can do, in your own small way, to bring an end to the violence. Shalom, everyone.

WRJ Supports Title IX in Letter to Betsy DeVos

You may be aware of the controversy surrounding Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' recent comments about Title IX as it pertains to campus sexual assault in a speech at George Mason University’s Law School. In her September 7th address, she criticized how universities handle reports of sexual assault, as well as the 2011 Dear Colleague letter, and stated that “the era of rule by letter” was over.

Out of concern, the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) has responded to DeVos by writing this letter. If you'd like to sign your name to it, please do -- since, in DeVos' own words, "One rape is one too many".