As we look toward the high holidays, we celebrate the sweetness of life while looking back somberly, reflectively hopeful that we may achieve a renewal of the spirit. I work at The Breman Museum, so I personally have the chance to inhabit a place of sweet celebration and of reflective remembrance on a daily basis.
The Breman aims to embody these values. Exhibitions and performances celebrate the many Jewish contributions to the arts – the visual arts, music and dance. But even as we celebrate creative achievement, our space maintains a serious and reflective look toward the past. Through our Weinberg Center, we teach the necessity of tolerance as we remember all those, not just Jews, murdered in the Shoah. And through our Ida Pearle and Joseph Cuba Archives for Southern Jewish History, we are dedicated to remembering, celebrating and preserving the stories of Atlanta and the region. I am inspired daily.
Looking back, 5780 has had many challenges. The world has faced a pandemic unlike any in 100 years. We’ve had to confront forces of division and intolerance in the United States. Yet I’ve taken inspiration by the multiplicity of ways I’ve seen our community working together as one great family – all of us despite our differences.
The Breman may be closed right now but we are virtually very much open, drawing new audiences from all over and expanding our collections. As the area’s only Jewish museum, we are proud to be here to share our (your) stories. Through our archive and our dedication to Holocaust education, we actively teach that all our stories matter. No story is unimportant, and each and every one of us has a story to tell and to keep.
This year, we come together to share apples and honey and hear the shofar virtually rather than in person, but we remain together, united as a connected and vibrant community. Let us welcome 5781 with bright hopes for ALL of us.
Leslie Gordon is the executive director of William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum.