October 23, 2020
Like most things in recent months, COVID has caused us to reschedule, realign, reimagine, and even redefine our routines. Even for the most ardent change-seekers, the deviations from our activities have been greater and more sudden than we could have imagined.
For the Jewish Federation, and more specifically, for the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio, COVID has caused us to reimagine our bi-annual benefit, For Hope For Humanity.
Scheduled for this past March 2020, the benefit needs to raise over $200K to sustain the museum for the next two years. The event, meant to be an in-person gathering of friends of the museum, transformed into next Tuesday’s virtual events series. We encourage you to join us for these special celebrations!
As you can imagine, being in the midst of our 2020 Annual Campaign, challenged to raise the funds for a year’s worth of support to our local San Antonio Jewish agencies, and pivoting online to celebrate the incredible achievements and mission of the museum has been no easy task.
And yet, if there was ever a week to make sense of this timing, this week’s reading of the Torah portion of Noah provides some ironic perspective.
Many people know this week’s reading of Noah because of the multitude of children’s books, Hollywood movies, and bedtime stories that originated from this text. Yet, what is lesser known is that the story of the Tower of Babel suddenly appears at the conclusion of this week’s reading — it’s a seemingly out-of-place non sequitur of biblical proportions.
Our sages have written plenty to explain this unique story. However, when looking at this portion in the midst of a pandemic, during a divisive election, in a time of cultural unrest, it is easy to see the message that we can not plan for chaos.
The story of the Tower of Babel (“confusion”) introduces us to the origins of cultural diversity and language obfuscation, including a society with disregard for human life in pursuit of a godly accent. It is such a chaotic story that Gd ultimately disperses the people across the globe to settle into smaller tribes and clans. One monotonous population has little to learn from one another. It is this week where we learn that our earthly diversity is a gift and a blessing and is the way we will find our true path to godliness.
Having the opportunity to celebrate the Holocaust Memorial Museum’s incredible accomplishments to educate our South Texas community is an important reminder that our diversity is a blessing and that our mistreatment of each other, no matter to what degree of wrongdoing, will only end when we have achieved a basic, as the museum’s mission puts it, “respect for human dignity”.
So please, we invite you to take a few minutes out of your schedule next Tuesday, October 27. Through the incredible generosity of our sponsors, the two virtual events are FREE for you to enjoy as we honor the work of the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio.
I wish everyone a Shabbat shalom and remind you that the Jewish Federation is
HERE for you.
HERE for our Community.
HERE for our future.