From the CEO: Austin Springtime is Rich with Life and Joy
Fall and spring are my favorite seasons of the year. While in Austin some would say we have a long fall and short winter followed by a short spring and long summer, fall and spring are the most visible and palpable transitions. Following winter there is a strong sense of renewal that takes place from mother nature coming back to life to the many celebrations and milestones that occur in our community, giving us a sense of joy and happiness.
It is not a coincidence that our tradition marks these transitions beginning with the Hebrew month of Adar, a time of happiness and joy as we approach spring. The Jewish holiday of Purim, a joyous festival when we read Megillat Esther (Book of Esther) falls during Adar. This year an additional month of Adar is added to assure that the lunar months of the Jewish year stay in sync with the solar calendar. I hope you will consider joining one or more of our synagogue communities’ Purim celebrations.
Our celebration of life continues in Austin. As you will read in this issue, we will honor three extraordinary individuals who have demonstrated amazing leadership in our community at IGNITE! on Sunday, April 14 at the Fairmont Hotel, Shalom Austin’s premier fundraising event of the year which brings the entire community together on one night to celebrate and build connections, share our impact and spark the light of giving. Mazel tov to Nora Lieberman, for the prestigious honor of Woman of Valor; Ian Spechler, for the Joe Krassner Campaign Leadership Award; and Julie Franklin, for the Hymie & Louise Samuelson Young Leadership Award. Register now to reserve your tickets.
Finally, only a few weeks ago in front of 3,000 Jewish teens, our very own Emily Kolodney was elected International N’siah (President) of B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, the world’s largest Jewish youth organization. Emily is the first international president to be elected from Austin. Over the past decade or so, BBYO has grown immensely with 200 members currently in Austin. We are very proud of the Shalom Austin JCC youth and teen department and how they are providing transformative Jewish experiences for our teens. Emily will begin her term in June.
There are many reasons to be joyous during this spring season. As we enter spring, let us find ways to make every moment sacred through acts of joy and happiness.
Rabbi Daniel A. Septimus