From the CEO: Austin Community Offers Light in Times of Darkness
On April 27, as many came together to celebrate and observe Shabbat, exactly six months after the horrific incident at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Jewish community was targeted yet again. Chabad of Poway was attacked, leaving several wounded and one victim, Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who was described as an eshet chayil, a woman of valor dedicated to the goodness of others and her people. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Lori’s family and all who are affected by this awful tragedy.
As I mentioned at the Chabad Center of Austin only a few days later as hundreds gathered together in solidarity, Jewish and non-Jewish, even in times of darkness it is our role to amplify the light among us and shine it in the most difficult places most in need. I was reminded yet again of the light around us as we stood together in this moment of challenge and when hundreds gathered over three community observances and celebrations, Yom HaShaoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Yom HaZikaron (Israeli Memorial Day) and Yom HaAtzmaut (Israeli Independence Day).
As we approach Shavuot, a celebration of the giving of the 10 words and of the Torah, we should recommit ourselves to bringing the light of Torah through our actions to our community and world. I hope everyone will join the Congregation Agudas Achim community for Shabbat and Tikkun Leil Shavuot June 7-9 as we celebrate Shavuot and study together. We will also show great appreciation for a great scholar, colleague and friend, Dr. Harvey Raben, for his many years of service to our community.
By the time you receive this issue, the school season will be over, and summer will be getting underway. Thousands of our youth and teenagers will make their way to Jewish summer camps. The Dell Jewish Community Campus will be transformed into a vibrant day camp experience for close to a thousand campers. I encourage everyone to join us Friday afternoons for Camp Shabbat, a favorite among all who participate!
As we count the days from moments of sadness to days of introspection, to joy and happiness and back again, may we remember the light that exists among us and our role in amplifying it to make the world a better place for all through our embodying of the essence of Torah.
Rabbi Daniel A. Septimus