CAA Welcomes Director of Education Adra Lustig

CAA Welcomes Director of Education Adra Lustig

Adra Lustig seeks to inspire CAARS students and families to live Jewishly and plans to help CAARS staff incorporate more experiential learning. Credit: Elizabeth Dixon Photography.

By Ruth Goldhor Chlebowski

Congregation Agudas Achim welcomes Adra Lustig as its new director of education following the retirement of Harvey Raben.

Lustig, who holds a master’s degree in Jewish education from Jewish Theological Seminary, will oversee all youth and family programming, including the Congregation Agudas Achim Religious School, beginning August 1.

Lustig arrives in Austin with her husband, Jason Lustig, and their two young daughters. He is a new lecturer and teaching fellow at The University of Texas at Austin Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies.

Like many Jewish Austinites, she arrives via a circuitous route: the northern suburbs of Chicago, where she grew up; Brandeis University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree; New York City, where she studied at JTS and taught at Stephen Wise Synagogue; and Los Angeles, where she most recently served as associate director of Temple Aliyah’s Sevran Center for Jewish Learning and Living.

Lustig is also a graduate of the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute. MTEI is a professional development program for Jewish educators from across the country who convene for six, four-day sessions over two years to hone their craft. Lustig described MTEI as an invaluable experience that will inform her approach to investing in and developing CAA’s talented educators.

Lustig’s commitment to Jewish community and learning started early. At age eight, following her first summer at Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute (the Reform summer camp in Wisconsin), she announced that she would be the camp director someday. She continued each summer as a camper, then served several summers as a counselor and head of learning, taught at numerous religious schools through college and graduate school, and led family education programs, youth programs, and religious schools for a decade.

Based on her own Jewish journey, Lustig seeks to inspire CAARS students and families to live Jewishly and to form strong Jewish identities. She plans to help CAARS staff incorporate more experiential learning in which educational games, projects, and immersive activities help anchor the curriculum.

Believing that relationships are the foundation of an engaged Jewish community, Lustig’s goal for her first year is to build kehillah kedosha—sacred community—among students, parents, teachers and CAA members by bringing all together in meaningful conversation.

Sunday, August 25, Lustig and the CAARS faculty invite returning and prospective students and families to meet, mingle and ask questions at an open house from 1:30 to 4:00 pm. Activities will begin in the CAA education building, then move to the playground. A detailed schedule will be available at www.theaustinsynagogue.org. ■

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