Austin, possibly best city in world for Jews
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.”