New Year Offers Opportunity to Look Forward to Bright Future

CEO Message, The Jewish Outlook

Sep 23, 2020

I hope everyone had an uplifting Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. While the celebrations and observances were different this year, the congregations and campus organizations in Central Texas provided innovative ways for our community to find inspiration and meaning during a time of great need.

Shortly after receiving this issue, we will begin our observance of Sukkot (festival of booths), followed by Shemini Atzeret (eighth day of assembly) and concluding with Simchat Torah, where we will celebrate the conclusion of the Torah cycle and begin a new one for the Jewish new year of 5781.

My childhood community, Congregation Emanu El in Houston, conducted a children’s Rosh Hashanah service called, “New Beginnings,” to look forward to how we can achieve new things in the year to come.

The Jewish new year of 5781 will be a new beginning for the greater Austin Jewish community. After years of hard work and commitment from many in the community, we are excited to announce that we will be breaking ground Oct. 25 to begin new construction on the Generations project. The Clifford Zeifman Family Early Childhood Center refresh, along with energy efficiency and deferred maintenance upgrades in the education building, are scheduled to be completed by early fall. More details on the construction and phasing of the project are included in this issue.

Generations will allow Shalom Austin and our institutional partners to significantly expand its impact by providing more ways for community members to meaningfully engage in Jewish life. Additionally, one of the most important goals of the project is for Shalom Austin to achieve long-term financial sustainability so that we can increase our impact in the community. Growing and diversifying our funding sources will also help us successfully navigate any future financial or unforeseeable downturns such as the severe negative impact of COVID-19.

Finally, I want to thank the incredible volunteer and professional leadership, without whom this project would not happen. We will take a moment to thank the many volunteers and professionals who have worked on this project at our virtual groundbreaking Oct. 25.

While we will still be challenged by the effects of COVID-19 in 5781, let’s take a moment to pause and celebrate what we have to look forward to. Even as our ancestors continued to face hardship in the wilderness, they stayed focused on a future promised land.

Wishing everyone a meaningful Sukkot and end to the High Holy Day season.

Chag Sameach,

Rabbi Daniel A. Septimus

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