Acknowledging Good

September 4, 2020

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 its 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 weeks 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 weeks 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. 


Shabbat shalom, 



March 17 – Creating Sacred Spaces

March 10 – Not Deciding Is A Decision

March 3 – Weaving the Fabrics of Our Community

February 24 – Tzedakah vs Philanthropy

February 17 – A Holy Nation

February 10 – You Cannot Do It Alone

February 3 – One Small Act

January 27 – Pushing Back the Plague of Darkness

January 20 – Three Types of Conflict

January 13 – I am that I am

January 6 – The Journeys We Pursue

December 30 – We are Judeans

December 23 – The Light of our Existence

December 16 – Passing On Wisdom

December 9 – The Company We Keep

December 2 – The Irrelevant One

November 23 – Breaking Bread and Building Relationships

November 18 – Knowledge vs. Wisdom

November 11 – Here I Am

November 4 – A Fabric of Ideologies

October 28 – A Trip to Our Partnership Region

October 19 – Resetting the Journey

October 14 – The Chag

October 4 – Adjusting the Sails


September 30 – From Learning to Teaching

September 23 – The Meaning of LIFE & LEGACY

September 16 – An Understanding Heart

September 9 – Equity vs. Equality

September 2 – Justice and Mercy

August 26 – Open! Open Your Hand

August 19 – Making Memories for Generations

August 12 – Kavanah and Kevah

August 5 – An Ethical Will

July 31 –  Communal Responsibility

July 22 – Creating New Beauty

July 15 – Dwell Apart, Together

July 8 – Consequences of Not Listening

July 1 – Two Types of Disagreements

June 24 – Hatikvah

June 17 – Rejoicing in Your Lot

June 10 – Finding Our Peace

June 3 – The Intangible Other Half 

May 27 – Be Part of the Solution

May 20 – Attainable Summits

May 13 – Standing up to Antisemitism

May 6 – Holy Relationships

April 29 – Finding Balance and Direction

April 22 – Happy Earth Day

April 15 – Humor at the Table

April 8 – The Weight of Words

April 1 – Evaluating our Spiritual Health

March 25 – Raise Your Voice

March 18 – Learning from Failing

March 11 – Being Called Out

March 4 -Ukraine Needs Our Help

February 25 – Crisis in Ukraine

February 18 – Counting Half-Shekels

February 11 – Our Jerseys

February 4 – Giving from the Heart 

January 28 – Treating Others With Kindness

January 21 – Feeling Without Experiencing

January 14 – Taking the First Step

January 7 – Seeing in the Dark

December 30 – Change Takes Time

December 23 – To Know Someone

December 17 – Multi-Generational Lessons

December 10 – Choosing Your Attitude

December 3 – Major vs Minor

November 24 – Be an Upstander, Not a Bystander

November 19 – Leaving a Legacy

November 12 – Jacob’s Ladder

November 5 – Relationships Matter

October 29 – Setting a Higher Standard

October 22 – On Being a Jew

October 15 – Blessed vs. Blessing

October 8 – Granting Trust

October 1 – Stronger Together

September 24 – REPRINT of October 9, 2020 

September 17 – Remember the days of old

September 10 – Ten Days of Teshuvah


September 3 – Our Jewish Peoplehood

August 27 – With all thy might

August 20 – Remembering to Forget

August 13 – The Trees of the Field

August 6 – The Mission of Maintaining the Roads

July 30 – Two Ears and One Mouth

July 23 – Antisemitism From All Sides

July 16 – The Greatest Threat

July 9 – Oxymorons and Echo Chambers

July 2 – The Impact of Today’s Decisions

June 25 – Or Lagoyim: A Light Unto the Nations

June 18 – Remembering Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg z”l

June 11 – Equity, Equality, and Investing in Our Future Leaders 

June 4 – An Optimist’s Perspective

May 28 – The Gathering of Feathers

May 21 – We Must be Proactive

May 14 – Here for Israel

May 7 – Behar Behukotai

April 30 – Lessons From My Saba

April 23 – Kedushah: Rising to Holiness

April 16 – Learning Empathy from Leprosy

April 9 – Finding Our Collective Hope

April 2 – Prayer Without Action is Simply Empty Noise

March 26 – Chag Pesach…

March 19 – First They Came For…

March 12 – A Prayer for Healing

March 5 – Combatting Antisemitism

February 26 – A Story Without Supernatural Miracles

February 19 – Federation is Here

February 12 – The Three Definitions of “Shemah”

February 5 – One Nation with One Purpose

January 29 – Prayer, Action, and Perspective

January 22 – Texas Holocaust Remembrance Week

January 15- The Role of Our Tent 

January 8 – Shemot

December 31 – Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazak!

December 25 – A “Community-First” Approach

December 18 – Dreaming in Color: Dreaming & Planning for Our Community

December 11 – The Big Room

December 4 – Wrestling with Our Angels

November 25 – The People Who Give Thanks

November 20 – We are the Toldot

November 13 – Your Personal Life and Legacy

November 6 – The Value of Calm and Reflection

October 30 – We Must Come Together

October 23 – For Hope For Humanity

October 16- The Good and the Very Good 

October 9 – The True Celebration of Simhat Torah

October 2 – The Festival of Ingathering

September 25 – The Two Goats and Yom Kippur

September 18 – The 10 Days of Awe


September 11 – Be Strong and Courageous

September 4 – Acknowledging Good

August 28 – Embracing Multiple Perspectives 

August 21 – Recalibrating in the month of Elul

August 14 – A Blessing and A Curse 

August 7 – A Good Name and A Good Reputation

July 31 – Comfort, Comfort My Nation

July 24 – Words Have Power

July 17 – Our Hope and Promise for the Future

July 10 – It Shall be for You and Your Descendants After You

July 2 – The Indescribable Bond of a Community

June 26- Jewish Wisdom from Our Community and the Torah

June 19- Milk and Honey

June 12- The Next Chapter

Sign up for our Email List!

Sign up for our email list to receive the weekly e-newsletter ("Chai-lights"), information on upcoming events, and all other happenings in Jewish San Antonio.

Select list(s) to subscribe to

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Federation of San Antonio, 12500 NW Military Hwy. Suite 200, San Antonio, TX, 78231, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact