From the Shalom Austin CEO: What IGNITES You?
After spending seven wonderful years in Seattle, Amanda and I decided to move our family of five to Austin. While I am a native Texan, I grew up in Houston and the Austin I knew was through the lens of my high school and college experiences. Amanda was raised in California and all three of my children were born in Seattle and had not visited Austin on our frequent trips to Houston to visit my family. Long story short, not knowing many people in Austin we immediately looked to engage with the Austin Jewish community.
Arriving in the summer of 2014, we enrolled our children in Camp Shalom and Camp Gan Kef (Early Childhood Program summer camp program) with the goal of our children to meet other kids their age and for us to meet other families. On the first day, Jonah, our middle child, was very nervous about entering his new preschool camp class. Immediately, his teacher and counselor took him by the hand and showed him to the playground so that he could become comfortable with his new surroundings. It was at that very moment that we knew we were home.
What IGNITES me is to provide the same type of warm, engaging and inclusive Jewish experience for all individuals and families in our community so that they can live their best Jewish lives. Just as Abraham and Sarah were eager to greet guests and welcome them into their home, so too do I see it as our responsibility as a community to enable others to engage in Jewish life, regardless of background.
In the days leading up to our premier fundraising event on Sunday, March 25 at the JW Marriott, I invite you to share what IGNITES you, I am excited to hear your stories as we gather with over a thousand people to raise support for our amazing Jewish community.
– Rabbi Daniel A. Septimus