From the CEO: Community Members Continue to Engage in Jewish Life, Despite Quiet Time of Year
After a slight reprieve from holiday celebrations, we approach the coldest winter month and take one step closer to the spring season. Regardless of season or lack of immersive holiday experiences, our community continues to offer meaningful and engaging opportunities for Jewish exploration and relationship building.
Thanks to the leadership of Julie Waltzer and our staff team, Shalom Austin Women’s Philanthropy brought together over 30 women to learn more about our growing Central Texas community for a new program called Taste of Women’s Philanthropy. Most of the women who participated are new to the area and aspiring to find ways to be more involved in the community.
Our Reform communities — Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Shir Ami and Temple Beth Shalom — convened for three days of Jewish fellowship and learning for the second annual MLK Social Justice Weekend. The weekend began with Friday evening dinner in the Shalom Austin JCC Community Hall with inspiring words by Mayor Steve Adler, continued with prayer and learning at Temple Beth Shalom and Congregation Beth Israel, with leaders throughout the Central Texas community involved in social justice work, and concluded with joint religious school between Congregation Beth Israel and Temple Beth Shalom. Participants were challenged to reflect on Torah values regarding racial justice and how to put values into action.
Women’s Philanthropy leaders from Austin attended the annual International Lion of Judah Conference. Leaders from all over the world convened in Hollywood, Florida, where they were inspired by many stories of impact that Jewish women are having in changing the world and how to bring that influence back to our local community. As I mentioned last month, Lecia Sud was honored at the conference with the 2019 Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award for exemplifying the spirit of Lion of Judah, committed to strengthening the Jewish future.
Finally, Suzanne Schlessinger inspires us by her family’s recent trip to Germany where they participated in a ceremony where they received driver’s licenses that were taken away during the Holocaust.
I hope you will find ways to engage in meaningful Jewish opportunities this month and as the spring season approaches. Stay tuned for some exciting news in the coming months regarding our community’s Jewish future!
Rabbi Daniel Septimus