Find Your Source of Inspiration at Shalom Austin
By Rabbi Daniel Septimus
After several weeks of reflection and inspiration during the Jewish holiday season, community building and meaningful programming continues at Shalom Austin. JBookFest, our annual Jewish book festival, provides opportunities to engage with thought-provoking Jewish authors such as Nathan Englander, Laurie Frankel and Patricia Bernstein. One of the highlights of JBookFest, the annual Book Lovers Luncheon, took place on Wednesday, November 1. Author Amy Silverstein discussed her book, My Glory Was I Had Such Friends, her powerful, inspiring story about the power of friendship and the resilience of the human spirit. I would like to thank our amazing volunteer committee and Shelly Prant for their hard work in organizing what is a successful Jewish book fair. Go to shalomaustin.org/JBookFest to find out more information and register for the two remaining events.
After uplifting and engaging talks by Rabbi David Wolpe and Dr. Scott Haltzman, Ray Benson, the Jewish front man of the legendary Western swing band Asleep at the Wheel, will join us on November 15 for our third program of Jewish Austin Men (JAMen) Season 3 series (shalomaustin.org/JAMen). JAMen is dedicated to improving the lives of Jewish men of all ages and backgrounds. Well over 100 Jewish men gather on a regular basis to enjoy great food, company and thought-provoking speakers.
And while we take a pause from celebrating Jewish holidays, we direct our attention this month to November 11 when we observe Veterans Day, a time when we thank all who have served our country in the armed forces. In this issue, we will feature “Portraits of Courage,” a book that includes the story of a Jewish war veteran from our community who found his religion during his service.
Finally, I am truly inspired by the strength of our community. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, one of our community members trained in water rescue, Jennifer Failla Hoffman, immediately went to the Houston area to save those in great need from rising flood waters. Read more about her amazing story in this issue. Our staff team continues to provide assistance to the Houston Jewish community. Overwhelmed by a high case load, members of our JFS team took turns working with JFS Houston.
While we cannot absolutely control destruction caused by devastating natural disasters, through community efforts we can mitigate the blow and help those affected get back on their feet. May our combined initiatives make a difference for those most in need. ■