Talking Generations with the Woskow Family
The Woskow family has always been at the forefront of the Austin Jewish community. Their involvement, participation and commitment to the growth and future of the Dell Jewish Community Campus makes an impact and a real difference. Beth McDaniel, along with son and daughter, Jacob (age 13) and Jessica (age 14), spoke to The Jewish Outlook about why the Generations Campaign is so important to them and what inspired their family's generosity.
1. Why are the Dell Jewish Community Campus and the Jewish Community Center important to you and your family?
Beth: It is here on this campus that we attend Congregation Agudas Achim, where we contemplate our Jewish identity through religion with Rabbi Neil Blumofe and our congregation family. It is here that our kids attended the Early Childhood Program and the Austin Jewish Academy (AJA). So many lasting friendships were developed and cultivated here. It is here that our kids learned to swim with Coach Lori and Coach Laura and competed with the Piranhas swim team for the past 7 years. It’s this campus where my son meets Rabbi Robbi Sherwin each week at Temple Beth Shalom to train for his bar mitzvah, and where we celebrate other mitzvahs. It is at this campus that I have worked on events, parties and social justice campaigns. I could turn to Jewish Family Service if I needed help during a crisis. At the Dell Jewish Community Campus we celebrate together, we contemplate, we mourn, we pray and we play. The DJCC is the heart of the Jewish community.
Jacob: It’s a major meeting place. So many things have happened there. I basically grew up at this campus.
Jessica: I spend basically every day on the campus, at school at AJA, working out, swimming, playing sports, and hanging out with friends. This community is my second family and I’m so lucky that I have been able to go here almost every day for my whole life.
2. What inspired you to make a major contribution to the Generations Campaign?
Beth: We want to ensure that the DJCC is sustainable, continuing to serve our local Jewish community, the general Austin community, Israel and the Jewish community abroad for generations to come. It is an institution we all rely on, and as such, we need to nurture, maintain and grow with the needs of the community. The Generations Campaign is about the future of Judaism in our community which is important to us.
Jessica: My family was inspired to make a contribution to better the campus so that kids and families want to come and meet other Jewish families. The Jewish life and community is really important to me and my family and I want to improve the experience that Jewish families get on the campus.
3. Which aspects of the Generations Campaign excite you the most?
Beth: The biggest factor for us was the expansion and upgrade of the swimming center. One of my first memories as a child was swimming at the JCC in Houston. I grew up at that pool. The JCC pool is the epicenter of the DJCC. But ours is desperately in need of an upgrade, and with that upgrade could come endless possibilities. The new planned swim park could be instrumental in expanding membership and our reach into the community. We believe that with this primary improvement, the JCC could become a premiere swimming facility in the city serving the general swimming community. The café and building improvements are also very exciting.
Jacob: Being on the swim team for so many years, the pool has been a meeting place, and moreover a great place to stay and congregate with the Austin Jewish community overall. The idea of expanding the pool is intriguing and exciting, because of those reasons, a more enhanced swimming facility would make for an even greater and more enjoyable experience at the JCC.
Jessica: The most exciting aspect of the Generations Campaign for me is the water park and new cafe. These new improvements mean that me and my friends and family can have an even more amazing time on the campus and meet more Jewish families.
4. Where would you like to see the Jewish community a decade from now?
Beth: I’m hoping we continue to bond together and cultivate our spirituality, growth, friendships and education through the congregations and other facilities on the campus. I hope we can grow together with direction and purpose, enriching our community and growing with the times, so that it will continue to be the hub of Judaism, but an improved version; worthy of passing on to our children, who will without a doubt, change the world for the better in so many ways.
Jacob: I think as culture changes, the JCC will have to keep up with this, and redoing the pool and gym are major steps in the right direction. But in 10 years, I would like to see a modern and accepting JCC facility where all Jews can meet and find interesting things to do in the changing and important Jewish culture.
Jessica: A decade from now I would like to see the Jewish community expand more than it has ever before. We can create somewhere kids and families and friends can go to relax and hang out – the best place to hang out with the Austin Jewish community.