From the CEO: We Stand United

From the CEO: We Stand United

We are devastated, outraged and heartbroken by the tragic attack at the Chabad of Poway synagogue on Friday, April 27, during Shabbat and on the last day of the Pesach holiday. Our deepest thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the victims and their families, Chabad of Poway and the entire San Diego Jewish community. May we stand united in strength and support during this difficult time, and in our opposition of senseless violence and hate.

Our team at Shalom Austin Jewish Family Service is available to provide services for anyone who may find themselves in need of additional support. JFS is here to help strengthen our community during times of unspeakable crises. If you or someone you know could use a helping hand as they come to terms with this latest violent act of hatred in our world, please contact JFS at (512) 250-1043 or We are here to help.

IGNITE! Brings Community Together in Support of Campus Future

As I sit down to write this column for our May edition, we are only hours away from the start of Passover, when Jews will gather in homes and synagogues to retell the great story of our freedom from slavery. Convening as friends, family and community is an important part of who we are. On April 14, 1,000 community members assembled at the second annual IGNITE! to celebrate and learn about how we can grow our impact in the community through our philanthropic support. A big thank you to our co-chairs, Candy and David Goldstein, Heilla and Ted Lain, and our professional staff team for their hard work in making this night a success.

The Generations Campaign Big Reveal was certainly a highlight of the evening. All in attendance had an opportunity to see the future vision of the Dell Jewish Community Center and play an important role in helping to bring this dream into reality by making a meaningful investment in this transformative project.

Our goal is to create a space that enables our community to have multigenerational experiences. At IGNITE! we previewed the future Dell Jewish Community Center and Dell Fitness & Wellness Center, where there will be spaces to gather, eat, and engage in health and wellness. We shared news about the new offices for our professional leadership team and for the relocation of our Jewish Family Service staff. The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Jewish Culture and Education will have a new space for its offerings with a connection to our Education Building where The Clifford Zeifman Family Early Childhood Program hallways and classrooms will be refreshed. The audience was given a taste of what the new pool experience at the David & Shantel Ferdman Family Aquatic Center could be, where lap swimmers and families can come and spend their day, eating some nosh and drinks from the snack bar. Adjacent to the pool, lighted tennis courts at the Hurt Family Tennis Center will be added for leagues, lessons and fun. Finally, our community hall will be transformed into the Susan Zane & Bobby Epstein Family Community Hall - Gloria & Harvey Evans Performance Hall, a multipurpose community and performance hall space.

At IGNITE!, we made significant headway toward our $2.4 million annual campaign goal for 2019. At the time that I sat down to write this column, we have raised $1.5 million for the annual campaign. And, I am very excited to announce that thanks to the generosity of those who were in attendance, we also raised more than $1 million for the Generations Campaign, making significant headway toward our first goal of reaching $25 million to realize the full match from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation of $6.25 million and to fulfill the Mabee Foundation Challenge Grant of $500,000. We must reach the $25 million goal by the end of September 2019 to receive the Mabee Foundation $500,000 challenge grant. And, the reality is we must exceed it as well, since construction prices continue to rise every year in Austin.

If you have not explored the opportunity to create a legacy by investing in this transformative project for our community, please consider doing so. This is more than a center. It is our heart and home, in the middle of one of America’s most vibrant cities—a place designed to foster connection—with all of you to one another, to the Jewish community, to Austin, Israel and the world. A safe and enriching space to live out our core values and insure Jewish continuity for generations to come. It is Jewish life reimagined for the 21st century.

Rabbi Daniel Septimus

Hebrew Preparatory School Alumna Returns to Teach

Hebrew Preparatory School Alumna Returns to Teach

Big Reveal Builds Excitement  for Generations Campaign at IGNITE!

Big Reveal Builds Excitement for Generations Campaign at IGNITE!