Shalom Austin’s Fourth Annual IGNITE! Fundraiser Draws More Than 400 Households Online | Shalom Austin

Shalom Austin’s Fourth Annual IGNITE! Fundraiser Draws More Than 400 Households Online

Community News, IGNITE!, Shalom Austin, The Jewish Outlook

Jun 23, 2021

IGNITE! 2021 co-chairs Nora and Allen Lieberman, Courtney and Jake Manuel, and Margo and Arthur Smith greet attendees at the online event on April 18. Credit: Screen shot courtesy of Shalom Austin.

By Shana Creeger

Shalom Austin celebrated its fourth annual IGNITE! fundraising event on Sunday, April 18, 2021. Chaired by Nora and Allen Lieberman, Courtney and Jake Manuel, and Margo and Arthur Smith, this special home edition of IGNITE! brought together more than 400 households for a virtual celebration. 

With celebrity cameos from Bob Saget, Fran Drescher, Scott Rogowsky and Gilbert Gottfried, the night was full of impact and celebrations. 

Attendees enjoyed IGNITE! from the comfort of their own home, and some gathered with friends and extended family. Austin-area event attendees received a gift box full of tasty treats donated by local businesses courtesy of Austin Gourmet Popcorn, AustinNuts, Tito’s, and Wunderkeks. 

Every year, IGNITE! brings together the entire community and raises money for the Shalom Austin Annual Campaign, which sustains all the programs and services Shalom Austin provides for the community. 

During the program, the impact of Shalom Austin was reflected on by several community members and leaders. 

Ricky and Debbie Rudy

Local philanthropists Debbie and Ricky Rudy are presented with the 2021 LBJ Humanitarian Award at IGNITE! 2021. Credit: Dave Hawks

Local philanthropists Debbie and Ricky Rudy were presented with the 2021 LBJ Humanitarian Award for their deep involvement in and dedication to Shalom Austin and the greater Jewish community.

The Rudys exemplify leadership, innovative thinking, and inspiration for others. From the moment they arrived in Austin, they have been serving and strengthening the Jewish people locally, and in Israel. They have the biggest hearts, and it shows in all the ways they give back – through their time, philanthropy, and nurturing of future leaders.

Instead of a lengthy acceptance speech, the Rudys wrote and performed an original song, “Everything Depends on Us!”

Shalom Austin Board Chair Abby Rapoport (2019-2021) explained the ripple effect Shalom Austin has in the entire community. “Shalom Austin benefits everyone, even people who don’t, know they’re benefitting from Shalom Austin.” 

Gary Solka, Congregation Beth Israel Vice President and Shalom Austin Jewish Foundation Committee member, expressed gratitude for Shalom Austin’s role as a community convener. CBI received a generous grant, made possible by the emergency funds raised by Shalom Austin, to implement COVID safety protocols to keep their staff and congregants healthy. 

Rakefet Laviolette shared a very personal story about her breast cancer journey and how as a former Shalom Austin employee she was hesitant to reach out to Shalom Austin Jewish Family Service for help. Thanks to the financial assistance she received from JFS, made possible by the Shalom Austin Annual Campaign, she was able to pay her mortgage for a few months and instead of worrying about how to make ends meet, she was able to focus on her health and her recovery. 

Emily Luvera, the daughter of Debbie and Ricky Rudy, shared how her entire family engages with, and has benefited from, a strong Shalom Austin – from her kids experience at the Early Childhood Program, All Day at the J and JCamps to her recent trip to Israel through MOMentum, a special program for moms who have children living at home. This trip is generously underwritten by the Rudy family because of their deep commitment to Israel. 

These stories showcased the power of Shalom Austin and the vital importance of contributing to the Annual Campaign. 

As of June 2021, Shalom Austin is 76% to their $2.55 million goal for their 2021 Annual Campaign. For more information: ■

Thanks to Shalom Austin 2021 Corporate Partners for Their Extreme Generosity

Austin Private Wealth
Loewy Law Firm
Dochen Realtors
Jacquelyn Einaugler, Realtor
Goldstein Insurance

In-Kind Partners
FILO and Real Good Content


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