ARTS: Gracious courtesy reigns at Jewel Ball. The Women’s Symphony League’s Jewel Ball is almost certainly the largest among the city’s surviving dubutante affairs. Some view it as a charming anachronicsm. Others as a potent fundraiser for the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Your social columnist these days skips the formal presentations and just mixes with the unfailingly polite and meticulously dressed guests. These are not your usual Austin gala-goers. For many, this ball might be the only formal social event on their calendar. Which makes for fresh chat. (Tarrytown and Northwest Hills are always well represented.)

CITY: Whatever happened to St. John’s Orphan Home? My story in today’s Statesman: "For years, it stood empty in open fields — massive, hulking, disintegrating — five miles northeast of downtown Austin. For some kids during the 1940s and ’50s, the three crumbling stories, fronted by columns and balustrades, served as a haunted house, a forbidden place to explore. For others, it was all that remained of a noble venture, an attempt to raise and educate African-American children in need from across Central Texas. On Aug. 12, 1956, the once handsome stone building — centerpiece of a 350-acre farm that drew tens of thousands of blacks nearby for St. John Regular Baptist Association annual camp meetings — burned to the ground." http://shar.es/K3twc (Don’t worry, there will be follow-up stories.)

CHARITY: A Night with the Stars for Dancing with the Stars Austin. Reported by Laura Villagran Johnson in Austin Social Planner: "Supporters and sponsors of Center for Child Protection gathered at the lovely waterfront home of Andra and Joe Liemandt for "A Night with the Stars," the official launch party for Dancing with the Stars Austin,presented by Lexus of Austin. Lexus of Austin had their 2013 Lexus ES 300 Hybrid at the entrance, which is part of the non-profit’s Luxury Car Raffle going on now through December. Inside, Word of Mouth catering swirled around the party with delicious bites and Deep Eddy Vodka mixed delicious concoctions at the bars. http://austinsocialplanner.com(Sorry I missed this one. But Laura was there …)

FAITH: New life for an old synagogue. Reported by Ken Herman in the Statesman: "When this newspaper last checked in with Leon Toubin of Brenham, which was back in 2007, the retiree was fretting over the fate of B’nai Abraham, the small-town synagogue built in 1893, in which he grew up. The congregation hasn’t had a rabbi since World War II. The younger Jews have moved away, the older ones have passed away and Jewish life in Brenham has faded away. Worship services haven’t been held in years and B’nai Abraham’s membership has dwindled to two: Leon and his wife, Mimi. In 2007, my then-colleague Corrie MacLaggan, in a touching story about B’nai Abraham, wrote that Leon Toubin (pronounced Tobin), aging and concerned about the future of the synagogue in which he had his bar mitzvah, "hopes for a miracle: that Jewish people will return to Brenham." http://shar.es/K3vQQ(Love this kind of story.)