Be Strong and Courageous

September 11, 2020

Today marks the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 assault on our nation. Many of us who are old enough to remember the events unfolding live remember exactly where we were with each developing moment. Everyone’s lives changed that day no matter where we lived. Life was simply not going to be the same from that point forward.

Although the devastation of 9/11 was immediate, the aftereffects have continued until today. To paraphrase author John Maxwell’s famous quote, although change is inevitable, how we respond to change is personal.

And so in honor of all those whose lives were ended much too soon, I share the following blessing. May we cleave to the memories of all those whose lives were taken when these horrific events took place, as well as all those lives lost in the subsequent days and years because of the mental anguish, physical toll, and deadly aftereffects. May their memory be a blessing to all.

This leads me to this week’s double Torah portion, Nitzavim-Vayelech, we are told to, “Be strong and courageous! Neither fear, nor be dismayed from [our enemies].” (Deut. 31:6) In reading these affirming words, we are provided the support to know that when times are tough we can be strong because we are one nation, with one vision, under the protection of our one G-d.

However, under closer scrutiny, this text is even more revealing. G-d would not be urging us to be strong if G-d did not know that our instinct would be to be fearful. If fear would not be our inclination, then G-d’s words would be unnecessary.

Change brings about anxiety, fear, concern, and many other feelings of doubt and trepidation. How we react to these feelings is key in how to move forward. We grow from the pain by acknowledging its presence and still forging ahead.

This week I am so very proud to be highlighting another key community agency, our very special Jewish Family Service San Antonio (JFS). When COVID-19 took hold in San Antonio, the Jewish Federation was able to immediately help fund a critical shift for JFS from meeting the needs of its clients in-person to virtual counseling.

This instant shift in how JFS served its clients helped them seamlessly continue to provide critical mental health services to those in greatest need. Our community is very fortunate to be able to offer these, never to be taken for granted, services.

But helping the community does not stop with one infusion of funds. Being able to provide emergency funding for our community agencies is only part of the mission. The Jewish Federation is here because of our community’s generosity and dedication.

Federation’s Annual Campaign is essential for supporting our community’s growth, fighting acts of anti-Semitism, meeting the needs of those in greatest despair, and planning for our collective future.

I look forward to sharing more celebrations with you next week on Wednesday, September 16th at 12:30 pm at the Communal Kvell.

Register at this link and tune in as we join our national Jewish community to celebrate with music, celebrities, and the stories of our impact over this trying year.


The Jewish Federation is

HERE for You.

HERE for Our Community.

HERE for Our Future.


Shabbat shalom,