IGNITE! Returns In-Person on Sunday, April 3 | Shalom Austin

IGNITE! Returns In-Person on Sunday, April 3

IGNITE!, The Jewish Outlook

Feb 24, 2022

Dan Kraus, Joseph Krassner Campaign Leadership Award Recipient and Phil Loewy, Hymie & Louise Samuelson Leadership Award Recipient. Photo Credit: Nicole Kirksey

By Shana Creeger

Shalom Austin is hosting its fifth annual IGNITE! event on April 3, 2022. This community-wide celebration will be complete with lots of time for schmoozing and fun. It will be a special evening to honor devoted award recipients, connect with others, share impact, and spark the light of giving and getting involved.

Chaired by Sherrie and Bob Frachtman and Julie and Ari Franklin, and in partnership with a diverse host committee, IGNITE! 2022 promises to be a meaningful evening inspiring Jewish journeys in the community.

IGNITE! would not be possible without the generous support of Shalom Austin’s 2022 corporate partners: Austin Private Wealth, BubbieCare, COTA, Dochen Realtors, Loewy Law Firm, Jacquelyn Einaugler, FILO, Real Good Content, Milton’s Sleep Co.

At IGNITE!, Shalom Austin will recognize community leaders Dan Kraus and Phil Loewy who have demonstrated true commitment to strengthening Shalom Austin and the greater Jewish community.

IGNITE! Honorees

Joseph Krassner Campaign Leadership Award Recipient: Dan Kraus

Dan Kraus, Joseph Krassner Campaign Leadership Award Recipient. Photo Credit: Nicole Kirksey

Q. How did you become involved with Austin Jewish community?

A. I took a long break from active, organized Jewish life between college and moving to Austin while I was single and starting my career. When Rochelle and I relocated from New York City, the only people I knew in Austin were friends from Jewish summer camp. As our circle expanded it was mostly in the Jewish community and everyone encouraged us to enroll the kids at the ECP which turned out to be an incredible gift to us. We made lots of the friends and community that we still have today. I decided around that time to get involved more directly. Given that I work in the financial services industry, I thought it would make sense to help with the Jewish Foundation. I took Jay Rubin out to coffee to see how I could get involved with that, and was shocked to learn that there wasn’t one. Having grown up in the Boston area, I took those kinds of community organizations for granted. I told him that I wanted to help create one. He said that when the community was ready he would let me know, but that in the meantime I should meet with Dana Baruch, who was the Board Chair of the JCAA at the time. Well, once you sit down with Dana and tell her you are willing to help, let’s just say I was hooked. She suggested I sit on the Allocations Committee and see the impact of our collective giving on the Jewish community of Austin, Israel, and Jews around the world. I was particularly drawn to that last part, as my parents were saved by similar Jews sitting around tables in the United States and South Africa, raising money and organizing aid in the 1940s.

Q. What was the most pivotal moment in your Jewish journey?

A. It’s hard to pinpoint a moment since I grew up with Israeli immigrant parents and an Orthodox rabbi grandfather on one side and strong Zionist pioneers on the other side. Certainly taking a year off after high school to go on Young Judaea Year Course was extremely impactful. I’ve taken a lot of vacations in Israel before that time and since, but living there was just an incredible experience in forging my own Jewish identity.

Q. What does being a Jewish leader mean to you?

A. I come from a long history of Jewish leadership and involvement so partly it is honoring my heritage. I love the community we have built and are continuing to build. Mostly though, I love that our kids get to see through our actions, not just words, what it means to contribute to improving our society and world.

Q. What is the No. 1 reason you are involved with Shalom Austin?

A. The Jewish community of Austin (and really the global Jewish community) have given my family so much in terms of community and the richness of life, that I feel an obligation to help support that for everyone. Rochelle and I are 100% committed to the idea that for Jewish life to persist and thrive, individual Jewish people need to step up and contribute – in whatever manner is best suited to them.

Q. What would you say to someone who is thinking of getting involved with Shalom Austin?

A. Your timing couldn’t be any better! With the growth of Austin and the Generations Campaign we can absolutely use your help. There is so much good work to do.

Hymie & Louise Samuelson Leadership Award Recipient: Phil Loewy

Phil Loewy, Hymie & Louise Samuelson Leadership Award Recipient Photo Credit: Nicole Kirksey  

Q. How did you become involved with Austin Jewish community?

A. A few weeks after moving to Austin, my soon-to-be fiancé, Adam Loewy, registered me for Mosaic, an inspiring community-wide women’s luncheon. The open-armed Valerie Newberg was gracious enough to host me at her table. Shortly after this spectacular event, I fortunately was connected with Margo Smith, another marvelous maven in Shalom Austin. These women reminded me of the smart, talented, and powerful females in my family, and I knew I could learn so much through volunteering with them and many others in Women’s Philanthropy.

Q. What was the most pivotal moment in your Jewish journey?

A. Without a doubt, it was moving to Austin. While I always had a strong Jewish identity growing up, I became more passionate about Jewish organizations and their impact since being active here. This is now my “professional” work that I immensely enjoy and participate in with my family.

Q. What does being a Jewish leader mean to you?

A. It means communicating the needs and impact of an organization, asking people to join you in supporting or leading the community, raising your hand to help, striving for excellence, standing extra tall with pride, listening to people, and making a difference. I don’t believe anyone can lead alone. It’s the collective impact that moves the needle.

Q. What is the No. 1 reason you are involved with Shalom Austin?

A. Simply put, it feels good to do this vital and rewarding work! I get to strategize for the present and future, connect new friends, create positive experiences, and help people. Obviously, I am only one small cog in these very big wheels that make our community go round, but it’s a privilege to contribute!

Q. What would you say to someone who is thinking of getting involved with Shalom Austin?

A. Welcome! This is volunteer work so do it on your own terms. Start small or plunge right in with both feet, either way, it will be a gift to yourself. Contribute with your current skillset or work on something new to you! The Shalom Austin staff is extraordinary and the volunteers are phenomenal. And, I hope I personally have the opportunity to work with each of you!

To learn more about Kraus and Loewy’s contributions to the community, view past award recipients, or make a tribute gift in their honor, visit shalomaustin.org/ignite/#honorees.  

IGNITE! tickets are available at shalomaustin.org/igniteregister.

IGNITE! 2022 April 3 Buy Tickets Now! 

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