Austin, pos­si­bly best city in world for Jews

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News -

and high-tech scene, and is con­sis­tently voted as one of the top 10 green­est and most de­sir­able cities in the US.

There are two syn­a­gogues which are over 100 years old, but there are few multi-gen­er­a­tional Jewish fam­i­lies. This presents an un­usual chal­lenge.

“Other com­mu­ni­ties have pop­u­la­tions with roots dat­ing back many gen­er­a­tions, so they have sig­nif­i­cant en­dow­ment funds. Their chal­lenge is that their com­mu­nity is aging and shrink­ing,” ex­plains Ru­bin. “Our sit­u­a­tion is ex­actly the op­po­site. We are young and grow­ing, but need to raise funds for the ex­pan­sion.”

An­ti­semitism is rare in Austin, and re­la­tions with the wider non-Jewish com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing the mayor and po­lit­i­cal of­fi­cials, are ex­cel­lent.

“Austin is a laid-back kind of city,” says Abe Selig, di­rec­tor of the Jewish Com­mu­nity Re­la­tions Coun­cil, and a na­tive Aus­ti­nite. “I can’t re­call one an­tisemitic in­ci­dent which reached po­lice level.”

There is also wide­spread sup­port for Is­rael amongst Jews and non-Jews alike. The com­mu­nity has a part­ner­ship with West­ern Galilee, through which it con­nects lo­cal Jews to that re­gion. Re­cently it hosted Is­raeli aca­demics and linked them up with their coun­ter­parts in the Univer­sity of Texas. “It’s a great way to ad­vo­cate for Is­rael,” says Selig. “We are bring­ing Is­rael to Austin. Their knowl­edge and ex­per­tise gives peo­ple an in­sight into the real peo­ple and sit­u­a­tion.”

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