The beginnings of HMREC


November 4, 2022

Dear Editor:

I was saddened to read of Tess’ death. She was a very special lady — a true Eishet Chayil. The Orlando Jewish community benefited greatly and will continue to benefit greatly for many future decades from Tess’s commitment and efforts.

I’d like to expand on this one sentence in the Heritage article: “What began with her “Holocaust Project” in the early 1980s with small conferences and discussions about extremism and terrorism, stands today as the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida.”

As with Hy Lake, Tess (and Abe) were against the Federation spending local campaign funds settling Russian Jews in Orlando. They believed that Federation funds should only support their settlement in Israel. When the Federation Board voted to fund local settlement, she and Abe, and Hy, decided to give their support of the Jewish community in other ways. I steered Hy to AIPAC and that story is well documented. At the same time I set up a meeting for Tess and me with Rabbi Yitz Greenberg (who, at that time, led major efforts to develop Holocaust memory and education programs), and it was that meeting that led to the first conference and the HMREC. The rest is history.

Tess’ memory, for sure, will forever be a blessing.

Paul Jeser

Los Angeles, Calif.


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