As we review the past year and begin 2020, I am inspired by the collective efforts of our community. Close to $8 million has been raised as of mid-December between our Annual Campaign, Generations and money that has been invested in the Jewish Foundation. This does not even include the vast support that many provide all of the synagogues and organizations in our region. Given our size, it is a huge accomplishment and testament to the character of our community.
The global impact of this support is tremendous. Before winter break began, I witnessed parents, grandparents and special friends come together for a joint Early Childhood Program and Austin Jewish Academy Hanukkah celebration. Well over 500 attendees packed our community hall to share the light of Hanukkah with each other. A week later, close to 200 seniors and volunteers attended Shalom Austin’s annual Adults 60+ Hanukkah Luncheon, led by Congregation Beth Israel Cantorial Soloist Sarah Avner at Congregation Agudas Achim.
As you will read in this issue, thanks to our community’s support of the unrestricted annual campaign, we are able to provide security assistance to Jewish organizations and synagogues throughout our region. This has led to significant investments from the Department of Homeland Security, due to the leadership of Andy Dooher, Shalom Austin security director.
Exciting new opportunities are coming in 2020 to help widen our impact. Before the end of 2019, BubbieCare began donating 18 percent of net profits to clients’ local Jewish Family Service throughout the country, including Austin. BubbieCare was created to not only help families, but to give back to the community. Lawrence Maze, BubbieCare founder, has been a longtime supporter and leader of JFS. Thanks to his company’s support, we anticipate that we will be able to significantly expand the impact of our community’s human services. As Jewish Austin rapidly expands, so too have the needs for those most at risk and those with the least resources in our community. Thanks to Lawrence and his partners, we will be taking steps in the right direction to begin addressing this challenge.
At IGNITE! this year, we will celebrate three amazing leaders and human beings, Carol Dochen, Kim Schocket and Keith Zimmerman, for their myriad accomplishments and the values they exemplify that have made a profound difference for our community. I hope you will join us for what will be a fun-filled evening.
Wishing everyone a meaningful and healthy 2020!
Rabbi Daniel A. Septimus