December 31, 2020
Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek! (“Be strong, be strong, and we will be strengthened!”)
These are the words customarily recited at the conclusion of reading one of the books of the Torah. As we wrap up the Book of Genesis this week with the reading of parashah Vayechi, we will recite these words to one another as a message of strength, resolve, and motivation.
Rabbi David Saperstein, who once served as the United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, explained that this unique phrase, “seems to suggest that our personal strengths are inextricably bound with those of the community: as we individually strengthen ourselves, the collective is subsequently fortified. The command may be in the singular, but the result is in the plural.”
This past year brought a greater awareness to the growing disparity between the haves and have-nots. Many felt the pain of losing a loved one, struggled through financial hardships, and endured feelings of loneliness. Those who were able, offered support through donations and giving time to help those in need. And when we felt isolated, we found new ways to connect with friends and strengthen family bonds. To Rabbi Saperstein’s point, we are social beings. Although we might suffer alone through personal challenges, we persevere through these experiences because of the collective strength of the community.
For the last few months, the Jewish Federation of San Antonio staff and volunteers have been reaching out to every single donor in order to raise the critical funds our local and international Jewish agencies need to provide the community resources upon which we rely every day. Each gift is essential to our Jewish community’s sustainability. Every dollar makes a significant difference to someone in need. So please, if you have not yet made a contribution to the Annual Campaign, we ask that you generously consider a gift of any amount. And, if you are an individual or family in need of assistance, whether emotional, spiritual, or financial, please reach out to us and let us know as soon as possible, because the Jewish Federation is:
I look forward to meeting you in person in 2021!
Shabbat shalom, and chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek!