Full of Gratitude as We Enter This High Holy Day Season
The unrelenting heat did not get in the way of an incredible summer season. Yesher Koach (great job) to our summer camp teams both at Shalom Austin and throughout our region for facilitating safe, fun and memorable experiences that will last a lifetime. I also want to provide a special shout out to our Austin based Maccabi leadership and teens for joining nearly 2,000 Jewish peers from around the world. You can read more about this year’s Austin delegation and games in this issue.
As we approach yet another High Holy Day season, we begin our preparations for the year to come. In the previous issue of The Jewish Outlook, we had an opportunity to highlight and remember some impactful achievements over the past year, including important transitions of some key Jewish professional leaders in our community and the grand opening of the Dell Jewish Community Center as part of our Generations project.
We are blessed by our clergy leadership here in Austin. Come this December, we will have the opportunity to celebrate two important milestones: Rabbi Neil F. Blumofe’s 25 years of collaboration and service to Congregation Agudas Achim and our community, and Rabbi Eleanor Steinman’s installation as the second senior rabbi of Temple Beth Shalom. While you will read more in this issue, I want to personally congratulate Rabbi Blumofe, a fellow Tulane alum, and Rabbi Steinman for reaching this important shecheyanu (thanksgiving) moment. Rabbi Blumofe has played an integral role in shaping Congregation Agudas Achim and the greater Austin Jewish community while also serving as an important voice in the interfaith and civic communities. Rabbi Steinman brings a wealth of knowledge and wisdom from her previous experiences before arriving at Temple Beth Shalom as associate rabbi. We are in good hands thanks to their leadership. Mazel tov and may they only go from strength to strength.
Congregation Beth Israel will also celebrate an important milestone – opening their renovated transitional sanctuary. It has been almost two years since the arson incident rendered their sanctuary unusable. The congregational community will return to their congregational home in time for the High Holy Days.
Finally, thanks to support from private donations, the local Israeli-American Council and Tzofim and congregations, Shalom Austin, in partnership with The Jewish Agency for Israel, is proud to launch the ShinShinim program in Austin. The ShinShinim program is the “year of service program” that offers Israeli high school graduates an opportunity to delay mandatory service in the Israel Defense Forces and serve Diaspora communities for up to 10 months. Two ShinShinim ambassadors will begin their tenure this month to build relationships with youth, teens and families and connect them to Israel and the Jewish people. They will participate in congregations, day schools and organizations throughout the greater Austin Jewish community, focusing on youth and teens.
Wishing you and your families a happy, healthy and sweet new year.
Shanah Tovah u’metukah,
Rabbi Daniel A. Septimus
Shalom Austin CEO
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