Aytz Chaim


The Aytz Chaim Endowment Trust provides funds for educational, cultural and religious opportunities and programming for members of CAA for which funds would not otherwise be available, as well as to provide funds for special events and projects of CAA. The trust funds are not used for the operation and maintenance of CAA but donors may create a Legacy Fund which may provide monies for an activity which might be classified as a maintenance expense.

Examples of needs that have been funded by the Aytz Chaim Trust include:

  • Tuition Scholarships for children of members who attend Austin Jewish Academy (AJA)
  • Tuition Scholarships or special education programs for CAA Religious School
  • Funding for tutoring of children with special needs
  • Jewish summer camps
  • Study or Missions in Israel
  • USY and Kadima conferences and conventions
  • Grants and sponsorships of training for CAA Religious School teachers and aides
  • Disability health-related need
  • Scholar in Residence grants
  • and more!


Apply for Financial Assistance

Please click here to download the form. Grants are awarded in March of each year. Mail completed grant applications by February 15 of each calendar year to:

Aytz Chaim Endowment Trust Applications
Congregation Agudas Achim
P.O. Box 28400
Austin, TX 78755-8400
If you have questions, please contact Karen Kogut at 760-889-7795 or Brian Forman at 512-699-6238. Funds are limited and may not be available for late applications.

Individual Legacy Funds

You can make a donation to the Aytz Chaim Trust online by clicking here.

The Aytz Chaim Trust can receive land, improved property or personal property such as stocks and bonds either as part of a Legacy Fund or as part of the General Fund. The individual Legacy Funds are managed according to the restrictions and limitations established by the Donor that created the Fund. The Trustees use the interest and increases in principal in the individual Funds in accordance with the intentions of the donors. The Trustees also manage a general fund from which principal and interest may be distributed. If you would like information about creating a legacy in the form of a Fund within the Aytz Chaim Endowment Trust please contact Karen Kogut at 760-889-7795 or Brian Forman at 512-699-6238.

Aytz Chaim Foundation General Fund – provides grants for cultural, religious and educational purposes for the benefit of CAA and its members as determined by the Fund’s trustees and consistent with the stated exempt purposes in the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws of CAA.

Berber Family Endowment – provides educational and programming assistance, which is not otherwise budgeted.

Cemetery Future Acquisitions Fund – provides monies to expand cemetery lots available to members, the interest from this fund is used to provide scholarships to CAARS students.

Claire Seriff Fund – established in memory of Claire Seriff, longtime administrator of our Religious School to benefit children under the age of 17 to provide scholarships to attend Jewish-oriented schools or camps. Preference given to children with “special needs.”

Freed Family Fund – provides support for programming and attendance at Kadima and USY activities.

Hannah and Richard Selig Memorial Fund – provides financial assistance to children of members in good standing to attend Jewish summer camps in cases where the family cannot afford to cover the full tuition.

Harold M. Schulweiss Endowment Fund – established by Sisterhood Agudas Achim to support CAA youth organizations such as Kadima & USY.

Jed Sack Memorial Fund – established in memory of the son of Rabbi Mark Sack and Margo Sack to be used for scholarships on an as needed basis for children to attend a Conservative or non-denominational Jewish Day School.

Kogut Family Fund – provides for educational, cultural and religious opportunities and programming for members of CAA which would not otherwise be available, as well as assistance to Members for medical or health needs.

Lewis Family Fund – provides funds to support the Jewish cultural and educational needs of CAA members and their immediate families as well as the Jewish cultural and educational programming needs of the synagogue.

Lillianne Grace Finch-Walton Endowment – established in memory of Lillianne Grace Finch-Walton to help CAA members or their immediate families with disabilities that substantially impair or restrict one or more major life activities, including caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and walking.

Rose & Morris Bernstein Family Endowment – provides health-related or education assistance to needy individuals.

Rubinett-Bagelman Family Fund – provides grants for children of Members for religious school tuition, Confirmation Class Trip assistance and Jewish camp. Also, can provide grants for Adult Educational Programming, special CAA projects or CAA programming.

Rubinett-Bagelman History Project Fund – provides grants to the CAA History Project or to support continuing Jewish education.

Rubinett-Bagelman Social Action Committee of CAA Fund – supports the Social Action Committee of CAA and its programs.

Sharon and Richard Kammerman Endowment Fund – provides support for Religious School materials and equipment; scholarships for religious school and religious school retreats, Jewish-oriented camps and other similar Jewish activities.

Shauna Steinberg Fund– established in memory of the daughter of Joe and Fai Lee, to provide funds allowing attendance and participation in Jewish summer camps such as Camp Young Judea or Tel Yehudah.

Steven Kogut Israel Scholarship Fund – established in memory of longtime congregant Steven Kogut to provide financial assistance for trips to Israel sponsored by Jewish Organizations.

Weinberger Cantorial Fund – established in memory of Rose and Josef Weinberger to enrich the congregation’s appreciation for our musical heritage by providing cultural events, concerts and special programs such as bringing noted cantors into our midst.

Worob Family Fund – Created by Naomi Worob and the Worob Family, in memory of Sid Worob, to award scholarships to students of CAA and to restore prayer books.

The Growth of the Tree of Life Foundation told by Tank Rubinett

“It is a Tree of Life for those who hold fast to it, and all its supporters are praiseworthy! Its ways are of delight and all of its paths are of peace. Bring us back to You, Lord, and we shall return. Renew our days as of old.” (Traditional Blessing when returning the Sefer Torah to the Ark) Proverbs 3

The Aytz Chaim Endowment Trust of Agudas Achim serves a very important role for the Agudas Achim community. Since it’s founding in 1997, the Aytz Chaim Trust  Fund has grown to approximately $600,000 and returns the interest this money  earns to the Agudas Achim community in the form of grants, scholarships and support for special programs aimed at allowing members  to expand their understanding of Judaism.  Through education and cultural programs, nearly every member of CAA has benefited, either directly or indirectly from this trust fund.

The seeds for the Trust were planted in early 1995 when the Michael and Susan Dell family generously donated funds to purchase a new Torah scroll for the congregation. Steve Kogut, z”l, a lifelong member of CAA, approached Tank Rubinett with the idea of involving the entire congregation in the mitzvah of writing a Sefer Torah. And so began the Hiddur Mitzvah project — the “beautification of the mitzvah.”

The year long Torah Project involved CAA members donating the cost for a letter, a line, a verse or a chapter or Torah—thus fulfilling the sacred mitzvah. Countless volunteer and staff hours also went into fulfilling this Hiddur Mitzvah. The funds were set aside for the long term benefit of Congregation Agudas Achim members.  The Tree of Life (Aytz Chaim) Trust began to grow.

Tank Rubinett, Kathy Lindauer, Richard Kammerman and several others proceeded to draw up the documents that define the structure of the Endowment Fund, which were finalized in the summer of 1997, and have since been followed. Susan and Alan Sager were co-presidents of the synagogue at that time, and those signing the final documents read like the “Who’s Who” of the Agudas Achim community—Richard Kammerman, Sidney Worob (z”l) Reuben Kogut, Mel Waxler, and Jarrell (Tank) Rubinett.

While the seeds of the Tree of Life Endowment Trust were growing, the congregation was also. The congregation began planning a new synagogue in early 1998, and in March of 2001, the congregation dedicated the new synagogue at the Dell Jewish Community Campus. Our dedication was marked by carrying our new Torah, (which members have nicknamed “ Keren”) made with the fulfillment of a congregational mitzvah from our home of 34 years on Bull Creek—to our new home on Hart Lane.

And as the congregation began to root itself in its new home, the electronic scroll that now sits in the entranceway to the Sanctuary was created to represent the member families and individuals who had donated the writing of the lines, verses, and the chapters of our “Keren.” It was only fitting that the construction of the electronic scroll was complete only after the move to the Dell Campus, the physical representation of the Hiddur Mitzvah of the writing of the Bull Creek Torah.

The history of our congregation, our sanctuary and our people is rich with interconnected networks of our lives. It is this interconnectedness between the Torah and the Jewish people and the sturdy roots of the Judaic principles upon which CAA was founded, that has enabled the Aytz Chaim Foundation to grow and thrive.

And from the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that was pleasing to the sight and good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and bad. Genesis 2:9