From the Shalom Austin CEO: Kehillah, K’lal Yisrael Hold Austin Jewish Community Together Through Tough Times and Celebration
Kehillah (community building), k’lal yisrael (the oneness and unity of the Jewish people worldwide) hold the Austin Jewish community together through tough times and celebration.
We continually hear and see the polarization of American society. The Jewish community is not immune to this trend, especially on the topic of Israel. It is particularly stressful on friendships and relationships between individuals, communities and organizations.
Thanks to the foresight of past and current leaders, the greater Austin Jewish community is somewhat countercultural to the trends occurring. Seventeen organizations and synagogues joined together to sponsor Ambassador Ron Dermer’s historic visit to Austin. Well over 20 organizations and synagogues had representation at the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Jewish Culture and Education at the annual meeting. And the outpouring of support and unity that took place in the wake of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting at the Community Vigil was just another example of our community’s cohesiveness.
Thanks to the leadership of Rabbi Alan Freedman, Rabbi Daniel Millner and their congregational leadership, Reform and Modern Orthodox communities at Temple Beth Shalom and Congregation Tiferet Israel came together to celebrate Simchat Torah. Many other examples of cross movement collaboration are taking place on a regular basis, both on the Dell Jewish Community Campus and off campus.
We should not take the type of kehillah and k’lal yisrael for granted. It will only strengthen the Jewish people and those we serve in the greater Austin area. Much work remains to be done as we can always improve our efforts, and we must remain intentional and prioritize these types of initiatives as we come one step closer to expanding our campus.
It is my pleasure to emphasize how excited I am that the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation awarded Shalom Austin a $500,000 challenge grant. We have just under a year to close our $25 million campaign to expand and renovate the very campus that has enabled our community to come together and provide the type of culture we should be proud of.
We are just over $3.8 million away from our goal. I hope you will join us in being a part of growing our amazing community and supporting our beautiful town square that we have built on the Dell Jewish Community Campus for all who would like to participate.
Rabbi Daniel A. Septimus