Greater Houston Community Gathers Pre-Purim at Kingwood Country Club for Third Annual Beauty for Ashes Luncheon for Holocaust Garden of Hope

This year’s luncheon sponsored by the Holocaust Remembrance Association (HRA 18) had the theme, “For Such A Time As This.” The luncheon commemorated Queen Esther’s courageous example of faith in action despite being in the shadow of genocidal annihilation as recorded in the book of Esther both in the Hebrew Bible and in the Christian Bible.

KINGWOOD, Texas, March 30, 2024 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Less than one week following a canceled Houston Young Republicans event due to targeted and scripted attempts made by anti-Israel antagonists and only 168 days since Hamas invaded Israel with barbaric, inhumane savagery resulting in the largest loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust, the Third Annual Beauty for Ashes Fundraiser Luncheon took place on Friday, March 22nd at the Kingwood Country Club. Over 240 filled the venue to participate in an uplifting program which celebrated life, renewed the urgent need to stand against modern-day antisemitism and honored local Holocaust Survivors. State and local government, law enforcement and higher education leaders were also recognized. .

“Like Esther, we all have the choice to be a silent bystander or an upstander in the face of evil.” Mitch Jerome, Chairman of the Holocaust Remembrance Association

The vision of the Holocaust Remembrance Association (HRA18), with the March of Remembrance Texas, Holocaust Garden of Hope, Upstander Stone Project and local scholarships, is to see the world inspired to stand in solidarity against persecution, prejudice, and indifference. Speakers this year included Texas State Representative Charles Cunningham, founders Rozalie and Mitch Jerome, Consul of Israel to the Southwest United States, Elad Shoshan, Anna Salton Eisen, author of The 23rd Psalm: A Holocaust Memoir (A National Jewish Book Awards Finalist in 2022) and Pillar of Salt: A Daughter’s Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust along with former Presidential Appointee Holly Ham. Soloist Caroline Cox sang “Beauty for Ashes” by Crystal Lewis; a redemptive song magnifying God’s healing power and promises in the midst of calamity as first announced by the Prophet Isaiah over 2,500 years ago.

Mitch Jerome, Chairman of HRA18, opened the luncheon with prayer and provided a brief synopsis of the Purim story which was read last weekend in Jewish communities around the world. Like Esther, we all have the choice to be a silent bystander or an upstander in the face of evil. He concluded with a quote from Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks zt’l, who shared in a 2008 Purim message aimed at the community of Sderot, following an intensified wave of terror from Gaza, “The fate of Haman has been throughout history the fate of individuals and nations: that those who try to destroy the Jewish people end by destroying themselves. Great empires sought to harm the Jewish people: from Egypt, Babylon, Greece and Rome in ancient times, to the Third Reich and the Soviet Union in the twentieth century. They seemed at the time to be indestructible. Yet every one of them has disappeared, while our tiny, vulnerable people can still say “Am Yisrael Chai”. The People of Israel Live.

Consul Elad Shoshan, who first spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Holocaust Garden of Hope in 2022 and participated in the 2023 March of Remembrance Houston at Kingwood Middle School, shared that since the start of the Israel–Hamas war, a war which was forced upon Israel, there has been “an unprecedented rise of antisemitism taking place all over the world – physically, virtually and also here in Texas.” More specifically he shared that, “Since October 7th to January 7th, there have been over 3,200 documented antisemitic incidents in the United States alone. That’s an increase of over 400% compared to the previous year. To give an example, that is almost 2 incidents per hour. And that’s only what is being verified by agencies.” In a touching tribute, Consul Elad Shoshan dedicated the day and the positive impact that the Holocaust Remembrance Association is having to his mother Esther, of blessed memory, who passed away suddenly last year.

Holly Ham is the former executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), housed in the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. and later Assistant Secretary for Management. In closing the luncheon she related her journey from Vietnam, when it fell to communism, to America; and how she connects to the Holocaust Garden of Hope as a first generation Asian-American. “Being involved in the Executive Advisory Council of this organization (HRA18) has taught me to ask questions where a veil of silence exists and to be an upstander” she thoughtfully related in the context of having difficult conversations with families and students.

The Beauty for Ashes Luncheon was made possible by generous sponsors including Title Sponsor The Nathaniel Foundation (The Nathaniel Center) and Founder Sponsor Kingwood Rotary Club; Riddle & Butts, LLP Attorney at Law, Dr. Rachel Towns, Care for Women, Tellepsen Construction, Senior Source Medicare Insurance, Naomi Tonsul, Remax KW. City on the Hill Congregation, Terry Deckard CPA, The Pineda Family, The Scott Greene Family, and The Sones Family. Special recognition was also given to Minuteman Press (Humble), KARW, Senator Brandon Creighton, Warren’s Southern Garden, U.S. Representative Dan Crenshaw, The Forest Image, Dr. Moshe Vardi, Dr. Cheryl Craig, Dr. Susanna Kokkonen, Steve Finkleman, Bill Beard, Kroger (Kingwood), Home Depot, Flowers of Kingwood, Karen and Chester Arnold, The Clubs of Kingwood, Homewood Suites, Ben Diaz Roofing and Megaton Brewery. Opportunities to sponsor future events are available on the Holocaust Remembrance Association website, http://www.HRA18.org.

The Holocaust Garden of Hope at King’s Harbor Phase 1, which includes Exhibit 1: “Why Remember the Holocaust?” and Exhibit 2: “Life before the Holocaust – Business & Everyday Pleasures”, is open to the public. Docent led tours are available every Sunday afternoon or by appointment. The Holocaust Garden of Hope, a World Class open-air museum free to the community, is focused on the Holocaust experiences of children and young people, using art, painting, sculpture, interactive displays and creative educational tools to deliver its message of retaining hope despite adversity in a family-friendly way. Exhibit 3: “The Web of Deception — Politics & Propaganda” is currently in the early phases of construction. The opportunity to sponsor one or more of the six remaining exhibits are available on the Holocaust Remembrance Association website, http://www.HRA18.org.

Media Contact

Rozalie Jerome, Holocaust Remembrance Association, 1 (888) 546-8111 Ext. 4, [email protected], https://holocaustremembranceassociation.org/

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SOURCE Holocaust Remembrance Association

Greater Houston Community Gathers Pre-Purim at Kingwood Country Club for Third Annual Beauty for Ashes Luncheon for Holocaust Garden of Hope WeeklyReviewer

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