Books of Reminiscence

March 1, 2023

Bar Mitzvah is a rite of passage deserving recognition and presents. But what do you get a Jewish organization that is celebrating a 13th birthday?

A good book, of course! (An Israeli bond would be nice, too, nu?)

When the Hebrew Free Loan Association of San Antonio (HFLA-SA) reached its maturity in 1937, it received a precious gift; a book that would grow, perpetually for eight decades and into the future. This remarkable tome – now grown to two volumes – documents San Antonio Jewry and the growth of the Jewish Community from the HFLA-SA’s 1924 founding to modern times. The books contain hundreds of stories of faith and devotion, and the books are nearly a legend themselves.

Designed by an early Trustee of the HFLA-SA, “The Books of Reminiscence” are oversized, comprising pages of 11×17-heavy, durable paper to last the ages. Abraham Seriff also designed the original logo, which is being revived for the Centennial (2024), and when the books were presented to the public through Rabbi David Tamarkin of Congregation Agudas Achim, it rated an article in the San Antonio Express: “The book, which weighs nearly 50 pounds and contains 600 pages, will record and commemorate the deeds and accomplishments of various members of San Antonio Jewry,” wrote the reporter.

At the HFLA-SA 75th anniversary, the books were described as “a living history of Jewish people and life cycle events in the San Antonio area” and promised, “The books will be on display at the new Jewish Campus soon.”

Join us next time as we conclude the story, the hunt to find them and the secret key to open them … and our plans to make them publicly accessible.