The Meaning of LIFE & LEGACY

September 23, 2022 / 27 Elul 5782

This week’s words of Torah are adapted from a speech presented last evening at the LIFE & LEGACY® Year 3 Celebration.


Have you ever stopped to consider what LIFE & LEGACY® means?

Each of us has spent a LIFE-time building our name, our reputation, and our personal value system. We have invested decades into building relationships, both personal and professional. We have raised children, role modeled for younger generations, and influenced family, friends, and neighbors with our pursuit of furthering our core values.

How about our LEGACY? What will be the things our family and loved ones remember when we are no longer here? Will the next generations only think of us when they use our “good silver” and “holiday dishes?” Will they remember us through the shared stories, experiences, and memories that we have built together over the years? Or maybe they will think of us when it’s time to name a grandchild or great-grandchild?

In our Jewish tradition, we often throw around the phrase L’dor V’dor. And we often define it in its most simple translation, “From generation to generation,” never really stopping to think about L’dor V’dor’s intent to transmit culture, values, rituals, traditions, and history from one generation to the next.

I recently attended an event where the speaker described our society as “siloed.” He elaborated that, “we are a segregated and separated people by age.”

Ironically, this was a finance meeting about the economy and its potential ramifications for nonprofit organizations. I was not attending a sociological or cultural lecture. This was a meeting of fundraising professionals from local religious, secular, arts, education, and service foundations.

“We are a segregated and separated people by age” kept ringing in my head. You see, our Jewish tradition is replete with the obligation to connect the generations. But, are we living those traditions today, was the question I could not shake.

In fact, we begin this week’s Torah reading, Nitzavim, with the verse, “You stand this day, all of you, before Gd… your elders… your children…” (Deuteronomy 29:9-10). Or in the Shema prayer, “you shall teach them diligently to your children.” And how about in the Talmud, where we are taught that “When you teach a child, you teach the child’s child.” These are our tradition’s L’dor V’dor moments.

Did you know that when generational connections take place…

  • There is a decrease in isolation and an increase in connectedness.
  • There is an increase in self-esteem for all generations.
  • There is an increase in understanding of generational issues.
  • There is an increase in trust across the ages.
  • There is an increase in sense of community.

I’m sure you all appreciate how I found this last outcome of intergenerational connectedness of particular interest as the CEO of the Jewish Federation, an organization dedicated to building and sustaining our Jewish San Antonio community.

LIFE & LEGACY® is not only a practical, rational, and sensible financial solution to the sustainability of our Jewish community. LIFE & LEGACY® is a means to perpetuating our Jewish faith, traditions, customs, beliefs, culture, values, and history from one generation to the next, L’dor V’dor.

We are so proud to share that through the LIFE & LEGACY® initiative, San Antonio has secured almost 500 commitments across 11 Jewish agencies totaling approximately $9.5M in future endowed gifts to the community. This is an amazing achievement, and we are incredibly grateful to all the generous donors who have chosen to invest in the community’s future and ensure that the Jewish resources (our synagogues, social services, arts & cultural programs, and recreation and fitness resources), which we are fortunate to enjoy today, will be available to our future generations.

LIFE & LEGACY® is a community initiative, a collaborative project that we must address today. To find out more about the wide range of possible giving options, to sign a non-binding Letter of Intent, or once you’re ready to confirm your gift, our San Antonio LIFE & LEGACY® team is here to help.

Next week is Rosh Hashanah 5783. Let us take this opportunity to bring in the new year through our shared commitment to providing a legacy that will help ensure a vibrant and active San Antonio Jewish community for generations to come. Because we are…



Shabbat Shalom and Shanah Tovah,