Building a Community Grounded in Jewish Values

Building a Community Grounded in Jewish Values

By: Rabbi Daniel Septimus

As evidenced by the smiling faces of hundreds of campers and their families on campus, our summer camp and aquatics programs are off to a great start.  Over 900 unique campers will visit our campus this summer.  Among the varied activities that we offer, campers will have the opportunity to participate in spirited Jewish song sessions, celebrate Shabbat and interact with our four Israeli Shlichim, four young adult ambassadors from Israel.  JCamps truly builds pride in one’s Jewish identity, an experience unparalleled by any day camp in our city.

As I walk the campus on a daily basis, I am so inspired by the breadth of life and activity that brings meaning to our community.  I also imagine what the future will look like when we fully realize the expansion of our campus and accommodate the needs of today and tomorrow.  As I write this column, I am excited to announce that we are nearing the match level, $12.5 million, for the Generations Campaign.  Every dollar raised on top of $12.5 million will be matched dollar for dollar by Michael and Susan Dell up to $6.25 million.

Through our shared values, we are building relationships in the greater Austin community. This past month we held our annual Bollywood Meets Borscht Belt event, bringing together the Jewish and Hindu communities to raise money for children’s school supplies. The relationships we build in the greater Austin community will help us fulfill an important Jewish value of Shalom Austin, tikkun olam, repairing the world.  We hope to find ways to augment the existing relationships we have in the greater community to align around shared values and improve the world together.

Despite the challenges we face, I am constantly reminded how lucky we are to live in such a great country.  As we approach the July 4th holiday, let us give thanks for our precious home and let us work together to build a community grounded in Jewish values.

Rabbi Daniel Septimus
Shalom Austin CEO

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