Austin Responds to Israel Crisis With Local Events and Fundraising  | Shalom Austin

Austin Responds to Israel Crisis With Local Events and Fundraising 

The Jewish Outlook

Dec 2, 2023

Community members attend the Israel Marketplace at the Dell JCC on October 29, hosted by Shalom Austin and IAC as a fundraiser for JFNA’s Israel Emergency Campaign. Courtesy: Shalom Austin

By Wendy Goodman

What started as a gathering of solidarity on October 9 has since propelled the Austin Jewish community into a series of response and support efforts for Israel.

Soon after October 9, Shalom Austin initiated a $1.8 million fundraising campaign, which was generously matched dollar-for-dollar by Michael and Susan Dell and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. Donations are made directly to Jewish Federations of North America’s Israel Emergency Campaign, which supports the most critical needs in Israel such as medical care, emergency services, housing, trauma relief, psychological support, and more. As of November 17, $1,256,032 has been raised.

To help the community navigate the many services and offerings for Israel, Shalom Austin launched a website at
shalomaustin.org/standwithisrael. The site provides ways to donate, advocate and support Israel during this time. It also contains resources, discussion guides and educational tools.

In addition to providing ways to donate, advocate and support Israel, Shalom Austin, in partnership with various local Jewish institutions, continues to plan events and programs for the community.

On October 15, Israeli-American Council-Austin organized a rally for Israel at the Texas State Capitol. 

On October 28, the BRINGTHEMHOMENOW Austin group held a moving tribute at Austin City Hall for the hostages kidnapped to Gaza. The event featured a silent display of chairs and personal items symbolizing the people who were kidnapped, and a plea that they are returned immediately.

The next day, on October 29, Shalom Austin and IAC hosted hundreds at an Israel Marketplace at the Dell JCC, a pop-up where Israeli goods were sold, and proceeds were donated to JFNA’s Israel Emergency Campaign.

Shalom Austin Jewish Family Service has hosted several additional sessions of their Stronger Together event series. The sessions provide space for the community to process the recent atrocities in Israel while offering mental health and trauma coping tools and emotional support. On October 31, JFS partnered with Texas Hillel to host a session specifically for University of Texas college students. 

JFS and ADL Austin (the Anti-Defamation League) led the community in an interactive discussion about antisemitism at their October 23rd event: Antisemitism and Our Lives.

Additionally, JFS, in partnership with other local Jewish institutions and community members, has provided housing, school placements, financial support, donations of clothing and toys/books, playdates and Shabbat dinners for Israeli families seeking refuge in Austin. 

Read more about JFS on page 52.

Another event that epitomized the spirit of solidarity was when more than 700 community members and supporters marched for Israel at the Texas State Capitol on November 5. The peaceful march, hosted by IAC in partnership with Shalom Austin, displayed unity with the Israeli people against terror. 

On November 12, Austin community members participated in a run/walk race to raise awareness for the return of the hostages, organized by BRINGTHEMHOMENOW Austin group.

On November 14, more than 60 Jewish community members in Austin traveled to Washington D.C. to march together at the National Mall for Israel, to free the hostages, and against antisemitism. Read more on page 12.

On November 16, IAC and Shalom Austin, in partnership with the Consulate General of Israel to the Southwest, hosted a special event that invited community members to hear from families of hostages who were kidnapped and brutally attacked by Hamas. Read more on page 14.

Through events, fundraisers and support services like these, the Austin Jewish community has come together in a variety of ways demonstrating the strength that arises when people stand as one. The solidarity displayed during these times serves as a reminder that, even in the face of tragedy and crisis, community is a beacon of hope and support for every member.

There is still much work to be done to help, to heal, to fight and to recover, and the Austin Jewish community has shown that it is poised to do just that.

Additional Content

Teens for Israel
By Maayan Oved

On November 14, IAC and Shalom Austin held an empowering evening for high schoolers, to help them deal with current issues, during these challenging times.

The event provided a space for the teens to talk openly and navigate the situation in Israel as well as the rise in antisemitism, led by Elior Amar and the community Shinshin, Yarden Bleicher.  

They also had a confidence-boosting introduction to self-defense session, led by Nir Kalish.

They plan to have more events like this in the future for teens to meet with other teens who are going through similar challenges and experiences. For more information, email moved@israeliamerican.org.

 

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