Young Jewish Families Connect Through Austin's PJ Power Hour

When Queenie Blumenthal moved to Austin from Vancouver, British Columbia, last year, she wanted to connect with the local Jewish community. So when she signed her children up for the PJ Library book program, she also joined the local PJ Power Hour Facebook group so she could learn about events. 

Her strategy really worked out. PJ Power Hour, a Shalom Austin neighborhood-based program established to help young Jewish families connect with one another, gave her the opportunity to attend monthly Moms Night Out events as well as events with her five year old daughter and two year old son.

Finding True Love and Lifelong Friendships Through YAD

Watch out J-Date! YAD, the Jewish Federation of Greater Austin Young Adult Division, is giving you a run for your money. While the primary goals of the group are outreach and engagement, leadership development and philanthropy, participants have also found true love and lasting friendships through participation in YAD’s networking events open to Jewish young professionals in their 20s and 30s. 

JAMen Forum Announces 2016-17 Speakers Following Successful Inaugural Season

When Burt Kunik moved to Austin from Houston three years ago, he really missed a program called 100 Jewish Men, a dinner and speaker series at Congregation Beth Yeshurun, his longtime synagogue.

Then one evening, Kunik found himself sitting next to Shalom Austin CEO Jay Rubin at an event at the JCC. Kunik mentioned the 100 Jewish Men group in Houston and asked Rubin if he thought they could start a similar group here. The rest, as they say, is history.

Jewish Foundation Achieves Multiple Milestones in First Two Years

A hallmark of a well established Jewish community in the United States is a Jewish Foundation, a community’s planned giving and endowment development center.

The September 2014 launch of the Jewish Foundation of Austin & Central Texas reflected the area’s rapid Jewish growth, and just after its first year, recently announced another major milestone – the signing of its first partner agency, Congregation Beth Israel.


Campus Chickens Combat Climate Change

If you thought you might have heard clucking the last time you were on the Dell Jewish Community Campus, you were not mistaken. Due to the hard work and persistence of three Austin Jewish Academy sixth graders and their teacher Kathy Rosenmann, six chickens now live outside AJA’s Science and Innovation Center.

The Other Jewish Austin: Meeting Critical Human Service Needs in a Booming Central Texas Economy

Buying into the stereotypical image of a wealthy Jewish community is relatively easy and even comforting to some of us in Austin. We are, after all, the people of the book, professionals and academics, accomplished in business and with a history of helping our own. Yet despite Austin’s bustling economy and laudable unemployment statistics (3.4 percent in December 2015 compared to 5.0 percent nationally), we have in our midst, believe it or not, an ever-increasing number of coreligionists in need of food, housing and financial counseling. Forty-seven people reached out to Jewish Family Service, a branch of Shalom Austin, in 2014 and fifty more in 2015 asking for emergency financial aid.

UT Harry Ransom Center Houses Impressive Judaica Collection

The Harry Ransom Center hides in plain sight on the University of Texas campus, turning its back on busy Guadalupe Street and hinting at its presence on 21st Street through etched-glass panels depicting objects from the collection and the signatures of famous authors. Its entry doors face toward the campus rather than toward the community at large, but anyone willing to trek from Dobie Parking Garage or the rare on-street parking space to the building’s entrance can access a treasure trove of Judaica as well as the original manuscripts prints and once prized possessions of prominent Jewish writers and photographers. From incunables—books that date from the birth of printing from 1452 to 1500—to original drafts of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech and the medal itself, there are copious rewards for persistence.