"A Century of Changing Lives while Building Community"
In the tumultuous landscape of 1920s America, a storm of antisemitism, anti-refugee violence, and economic adversity loomed large. Nativism, flexing its political muscles, cast a shadow pushing immigrant communities to the margins.
In the heart of this upheaval, Rabbi Shlome Solomon of San Antonio found himself deeply troubled. His upbringing, marred by violent attacks on Russian Jewish villages, echoed in his memory as he navigated the Texan terrain, realizing with a heavy heart that history seemed to be repeating itself.
The Rabbi partnered with San Antonio Businessman Abraham Kamrass to provide for the community’s growth and vitality. They formed a nonprofit organization to offer financial assistance to those in need, through loans without interest, without gain.
Hebrew Free Loan of San Antonio was created in 1924 in reaction to growing intolerance.
As Rabbi Feigenbaum said at the inaugural meeting of HFLA-SA, “These acts of kindness aren’t charity – they are mutual protection.”
Now, as we honor our centennial, the world is again beset by violent attacks, rising intolerance, intensified by recent crises like the pandemic and distant wars.
The Books of Reminiscence
Our century-old history is told in the Books of Reminiscence, containing nearly 400 oversized pages detailing the stories of the people and families who created a strong Jewish Community here over the last hundred years.
Created as a gift to HFLA-SA in 1937 by Trustee Abraham Seriff (who also designed the books, the artwork contained, and the original logo), they are the history and heritage of the San Antonio Jewish Community.
Originally archived in Alphabetical order, we have also reorganized the pages Chronologically by decades as well. It's a new resource available to historians and students researching Jewish Community development in America.
The digital copies below are samples of how we shall fulfill a promise made in both 1937 and 1999:
To make them available to the community.
What is a Book of Reminiscence?
This book is a living history of Jewish people and life cycle events in the San Antonio area. Pages in this book are donated in honor of or in memory o loved ones and their contribution to the Jewish community. We find records of Bar and Bat Mitzvah, marriages, births, election to offices in various Jewish organizations as well as other achievements. It has both a written and a photographic history. It is also a way of recognizing a person's accomplishments and good deeds.
Many of us can look with pride upon the pages of our ancestors.
Pages can be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or clicking on the book order button above or below.