This Hanukkah we are taking a moment to shine a light on the resilience of our community throughout this past year. Tonight, we light the last candle of the menorah and read how our community brought light and hope to the broader San Antonio community.
NCJW hosted a “Diaper Drop Off” in August to assist families at the Center for Refugee Services. More than forty NCJW members donated over 4,000 diapers and wipes — enough to keep toddlers in diapers for three months. They also raised $400 for the Center for Refugee Services by selling white collars in tribute to RBG. NCJW’s feature-length documentary, Impact: The San Antonio Jewish Oral History Project continues to enjoy an enthusiastic reception since its three sold-out showings in 2019. This past year, Impact not only was chosen and screened as an Official Selection in the San Antonio Film Festival, but it was also highlighted in the Texas Oral History Association in Waco during their virtual September conference.
The film is available for rent or purchase on Vimeo. To date, the film has reached almost 1,000 people as it tells the story of San Antonio’s history and the role the Jewish community played in that history.
Jewish Family Service is the lead agency in the new San Antonio Mobile Mental Wellness Collaborative, a group of six mental health nonprofits that provide counseling, resources, education, and more in local school districts. In its pilot program year, the Collaborative had 202 referrals for services and more than 1,400 people reached through consultations and trainings.
Marc, a recent South San graduate, said, “I love having a real person there to support me. Having the Collaborative in school has been the best thing ever because I know I’m on the right track to mental health success and I can get through tough situations like COVID-19.”
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) builds bridges in the broader San Antonio all year round. The JCRC is the public affairs and community outreach arm of the Jewish Federation of San Antonio and has representatives from each synagogue and Jewish agency. In March, before the pandemic began, the JCRC hosted the Jewish community at several events honoring the work of Martin Luther King Jr., including the city-wide MLK March, the largest march in the country, and a beautiful Interfaith Service including all the major faith groups in San Antonio.
As in-person programs became limited, the JCRC presented many virtual programs on topics from Israel relations, Jewish community advocacy with local policy makers, and on anti-Semitism and security. The JCRC convenes a security committee to address both physical and cyber security issues. JCRC Director Lisa Epstein is the first to respond on behalf of our Jewish community when an issue arises, coordinating communication between Jewish agencies, local law enforcement, the Anti-Defamation League, and other relevant organizations.