It is human nature to easily identify someone’s faults, to complain when something doesn’t go as expected, or to criticize failure. Humans are hardwired to want to be successful, and when an outcome is not as desired, we instinctively evaluate the situation and respond. However, it is how we react to these disappointments and disapprovals that triggers our inherent fight, flight, or freeze response.
Picture sitting at a restaurant with friends experiencing bad service — when the one member of the group is ready to call the manager over and express her outrage (fight), another looks at her partner and shares “it’s time to go” (flight), and a third is sitting there shaking her head in utter disbelief unsure of what to do next (freeze).
In this week’s Torah portion however, we read in Ki Tavo that G-d tells us to rejoice in “all the good” that we have been granted (Deut. 26:11). Wait, what? We have a natural instinct to be critical and complain, but we are specifically reminded by G-d that we need to be happy and celebrate when something good happens?
The scholars explain that our instinct is to improve, to innovate, and to adapt in order to grow and survive. But when something good occurs we often take it in stride because there is no associated danger triggering a survival instinct. Hence, we are told in this week’s Torah portion that we must stop and acknowledge good when we recognize it. Therefore, it is in this vein that we will highlight our partner Jewish agencies over the coming months. Today, I highlight three amazing Jewish agencies and programs in our community:
- Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio (HMMSA), a program of the Jewish Federation, opened its doors to the public in May 2000, at the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Campus of the Jewish Community. However, its origins date back to 1975, when the Jewish Community relations Council of the Jewish Federation “created a special, short curriculum to supplement World War II studies in high schools.” Today, the museum has an expansive virtual footprint serving the greater San Antonio and South Texas community during these e-learning times.
- Hebrew Free Loan Association of San Antonio (HFLA-SA) was established in 1924 “to provide interest-free loans for emergencies, life events and education, fostering dignity and self-sufficiency.” Especially during the Covid pandemic, this organization meets a critical need for Jewish San Antonio families and individuals needing to bridge the difficult financial challenges of lost jobs, rising healthcare costs, and all other associated daily struggles.
- Ohr Lanu Foundation whose mission is “to facilitate and enhance medical care for the Jewish community of San Antonio.” Ohr Lanu provides patient advocacy, physician referral, ancillary and financial aid to members of the Jewish community in need of navigating the complex and daunting healthcare system.
Our San Antonio Jewish community has so many amazing resources, and our ability to provide incredible programming is a direct result of the generosity and philanthropic efforts of our Jewish community donors. As this week’s Torah portion suggests, let us rejoice in knowing that we have so much to offer our community and that we are so thankful. Please join me in two weeks, Wednesday, September 16th at 12:30 PM to celebrate at the Communal Kvell. We are kicking off the 2020 Annual Campaign with this event which features entertainment, comedy, surprise celebrities, and, most importantly, a chance to celebrate our collaborative, comforting, and caring community.
The Jewish Federation is
HERE for You.
HERE for Our Community.
HERE for Our Future.