The Monthly Roar, September 19th, 2014

By in

Letter From the Head of School

I admit it. I do not volunteer very often, but when my niece asked me to help at the spring Junior Triathlon at the JCC, I agreed. I have, in the past, participated in fun runs and races and had forgotten how easy it was to get caught up in the excitement. My job that morning was to stand at the end of one of the pool lanes and direct and encourage the swimmers. It was great to see children of all ages and abilities as they entered the pool to begin the swim portion of the triathlon. I was told to be on the lookout for one participant, a child with special needs, who might require special attention. Sure enough, this young boy stopped before getting in the pool and said, “I’m not sure I can do this.” A volunteer close to him replied, “Of course you can.” He then proceeded to jump in the pool and began swimming. At each end of the pool, he would stop and express his uncertainty that he could complete the task. Yet again, a volunteer standing by was ready to cheer him on. And yes, I was privileged to see him finish the swimming portion of the competition.

Witnessing this beautiful mitzvah, I had a moment of revelation. I thought, how great that this child could share what I imagine most of the other swimmers felt but kept within. I am nervous. I hope I can do this. What person, young or old, would not appreciate the kind of reassurance and encouragement that this boy received.

As we prepare for the new year, let us keep in mind how vital it is to lend support, provide reinforcement, and demonstrate care …..even when not asked to do so.


In other AJA news, thank you for attending our Back To School Nights.  I hope you had a taste of what’s to come.  Also, please be aware that Sarah Craemer is no longer serving as Director of Development at AJA. We wish her much success.

Moving forward, we are posting the position and will begin the interview process.


Save the Date

  • Thursday, September 18th ADL Austin Torch of Liberty Award Dinner- Honoring Susan & Bobby Epstein
  • Wednesday, September 24th Erev Rosh Hashanah- full school day
  • Thursday & Friday, September 25th and 26th Rosh Hashanah– school closed
  • Monday, September 29th Student Learning Conferences- noon dismissal. Watch for the Sign-Up Genius email! Coming soon to a computer (or phone) near you!
  • Tuesday, September 30th Parent Institute- Parenting the Growing Brain. Speaker: Carrie Contey, Ph.D. 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Temple Beth Shalom.
  • Tuesday, September 3rd through Friday, October 3rd Middle School Beginning of Year Trip with Nature’s Classroom Institute (NCI)– held at Camp Young Judaea in Wimberly, TX
  • Thursday, October 2nd First Thursday: Coffee and Conversation for prospective parents click here for more details
  • Friday, October 3rd Erev Yom Kippur– noon dismissal
  • Sunday, October 19th FallFusion annual fundraiser– Honoring AJA parents, Debra & Brett Hurt


Congratulations, Condolences and Tributes

  • Cheryl Hersh made a donation:
    o Mazal Tov to Avi & Raffi and the Zeifman family on the birth of Elijah!
  • In honor of Karina Schumer’s birthday, donations were received from:
    o Roz Altmejd
    o Susan and Eric Broockman
    o Robin and Marty Davis
  • Paula Friedlander made a donation in honor of Lindsay L. Gregg.


What’s Happening at AJA?

  • AJA students accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in their Jewish Teen Philanthropy Class.
  • Middle School students have tons of fun at their Advisory pool party, the Engineering Marshmallow Challenge, and develop their lab safety skills, the scientific method, experimental procedures, and measurement.  photo (4)
    Way to go boys!
    Way to go boys!

    Noah and Daphna discuss different solutions to the Save Sam dilemma.
    Noah and Daphna discuss different solutions to the Save Sam dilemma.
  • Our Kindergarten class is settling in and enjoying the theme for this year : “We all Bee-long.” The class’s goal and main rule for the year is to “BEE” HELPFUL to our school, our classmates, our teacher, and our world. The class now has a little puppet mascot which they named “Buzzy,” who comes out every once in a while and asks them important questions. Bee-Long


  • Our computer programming kids are Tynkering away… ask yours to fill you in on what he or she is learning!
    Tynker Coding Example
    Tynker Coding Example


  • First graders in Ms. Faris’ class got to present their beautiful About Me posters. image


  • AJA will be hosting its first Parenting Institute Event, “Parenting the Growing Brain”, on September 30th with speaker Carrie Contey, Ph.D. This event is open to the public. Tickets are available to AJA parents with a suggested donation of $10, general public may purchase tickets for $12 on our website. Click Here to Learn More


Support AJA

Scrip is an essential part of the AJA’s fundraising program and a very easy way for our parents to do their part in supporting our wonderful school. Scrip cards are purchased at face value and Austin Jewish Academy receives a rebate from the vendor.

Scrip cards can be purchased daily in the AJA office, in the lobby on Friday mornings, or even during curbside pick-up on Mondays. You can also, go online to to purchase scrip from hundreds of participating vendors. Using ScripNow!â„¢ is a great and easy way to purchase your Scrip, right from home! Once your account is set up, following the instructions on the website, you can just purchase Scrip and print out the codes or use them online to make your purchases. An easy way to do your shopping and help our school at the same time! You can even send your child with a completed Scrip Order Form or fill out an Authorization Agreement and have scrip cards pre-authorized and sent to your home.

Want to learn more about scrip? Contact the office at 512-735-8374 or send an email to

Library Book Donation – Recognize an event, milestone or someone special by purchasing a book from the Library wish list. A book plate will be placed in the donated book. The student you are honoring will be able to choose from the newly purchases collection (not yet received). He/she will be the first to check the book out and it will be presented at Kabbalat Shabbat. Alternatively an acknowledgement letter will be sent to any non-student who is being honored.
Want to learn more? Contact the front office at 512-735-8350 or e-mail


Please join us

Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend Kabbalat Shabbat on Fridays from 8:00-8:30am! We would also like to encourage all students to wear white shirts on Friday to give AJA that special Shabbat feeling.


What’s Happening in the Community?

  • ADL Austin Torch of Liberty Award Dinner will take place on Thursday, 18 Sep, 2014 from 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm.  The torch of Liberty Honorees are Susan & Bobby Epstein.
    For more information, and ticket and sponsorship opportunities please visit
  • Want to learn how to cook Israeli food? Want to celebrate the culture of Israel? On September 28th at the Temple Beth Shalom Community Hall, is a community-wide cooking and dining event with two visiting Israeli chefs. Everyone attending will help prepare a mufti-course meal inspired by the cuisine of several Israeli regions while learning more about the culture and food of the country. Afterwards, enjoy the fruits of your labor accented by top-notch Israeli wines. All of this and live Klezmer music from Mazel Tov Kocktail Hour!
    Price is $36 without wine, $46 with wine. September 28th, 5:30pm, Temple Beth Shalom Community Hall
    To purchase tickets, go to and for more info Click here!
  • We invite you to set up your Sukkah beginning Sunday October 5 with take-down on October 19. We would like to have as many sukkah’s on the lawn as possible and look forward to seeing your unique design.
  • We are excited to have our annual Sukkot event on the evening of Tuesday October 14th from 5:30-7:30 on the front lawn of the JCC. We will have music by Mazel Tov Kocktail Hour, children’s choirs, mini educational sessions, food, family activities and more.
  • Sunday, October 19, 2014, the Jewish Community Center will host its annual fundraiser, FallFusion, at the Dell Jewish Community Campus. Co-Chaired by Andrea & Walter Kalmans, FallFusion supports youth, senior adult and Jewish cultural programming at the JCC. AJA parents, Debra & Brett Hurt, will receive the 2014 LBJ Humanitarian Award in recognition of their extraordinary local philanthropy and community service. A Sponsor & Patron Cocktail Reception (5:30-6:30 PM) and Award Ceremony will precede the Community Celebration (6:30-9:00 PM). The unique and fun format of FallFusion will feature eclectic entertainment, local cuisine and the best silent auction at the JCC yet!



On behalf of the staff at AJA we would like to wish you and your families a Shabbat Shalom and L’Shana Tova!