CEO Message: Looking Back on Summer and Welcoming Fall
In the previous issue of The Jewish Outlook, I shared the incredible impact of our community’s summer experiences. While there continues to be challenges regarding COVID-19 and its impact on our well-being, for the first time in two years, national and international gatherings returned in many sectors of our Jewish community. Israel teen and adult mission trips, overseas travel to Jewish communities, and other gatherings all roared back this summer.
For the first time since 2019, the JCC Maccabi Games returned with great enthusiasm. Over 1,600 teens representing close to 60 JCC delegations of teens, coaches and delegation heads convened in San Diego. The opening ceremonies, always a highlight of any Maccabi experience, were particularly inspiring and emotional on a number of levels. This year marked the 40th anniversary of the games and the 50th anniversary of the Munich massacre when Palestinian terrorists murdered 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team. Every year during the opening ceremonies, the attendees pay tribute to the 11 athletes who were tragically murdered. After all delegations march in, the ceremony concludes with the national anthems of each country in attendance. Additionally, the JCC Association added JCC Maccabi Access, a JCC Maccabi Games experience for athletes with disabilities.
This year, 26 Austin teens attended the games and had an incredible time, thanks to the leadership of our delegation head and Senior Health and Wellness Director Mark Pattis and our other coaches and chaperones in attendance this year. Professional leadership in attendance included Janet S. Elam (COO), Brooks Weaver (Aquatics and Athletics Director), James Russell (Tennis Director) and volunteer leadership included Jen Reed, Wayne Pappert, and Aron Waisman. Read more about the games in this issue of The Jewish Outlook.
I also had the honor and privilege to attend the first half of the games this year. The opportunity for Jewish teens to come together from around the world and immerse themselves in healthy competition grounded in strong Jewish and Zionists values is inspiring to say the least. As I stood and proudly sang HaTikvah with the thousands of people in attendance, I felt a strong sense of pride and connection that I know all who attended felt as well.
Next year, in honor of Israel’s 75th birthday, teens will have the opportunity to participate and compete in the State of Israel. Increasing teen participation in the Maccabi Games will remain a priority for our community and we look forward to sharing more information as it becomes available. This will be in addition to Fort Lauderdale hosting the games in 2023.
Finally, just as we came together over the summer for various Jewish convening opportunities, I hope you will join in worship experiences offered by congregational partners throughout the community. Wishing each and every one of you and your families a happy, healthy and meaningful Jewish new year.
Rabbi Daniel A. Septimus
Shattered Yet United: Austin Jewish Community Finds Solidarity Amidst Unthinkable Atrocities in Israel
Austin clergy recite Mourner's Kaddish at the Community Solidarity Gathering for Israel at Congregation Agudas Achim on October 9. Credit: David Finkel Photography By Wendy Goodman Since the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, the deadliest day for the...
Author Jennifer Rosner at the Leslie Brittman Literary Event. Credit: Rebecca Golden The Leslie Brittman Literary Event was held on Sunday, October 29 at Chez Zee. Jennifer Rosner, National Jewish Book Award Finalist, and author of “The Yellow Bird Sings” was...