Texas Jewish Historical Society Holds Fall Meeting | Shalom Austin

Texas Jewish Historical Society Holds Fall Meeting

Community News, The Jewish Outlook

Nov 23, 2020

By Tumbleweed Smith

The Texas Jewish Historical Society‘s fall meeting was held virtually again. It was only the second time in the organization’s 40-year history that there was no public gathering for a quarterly meeting.

The meeting, held Oct. 23-25, was well attended and some members appreciated the convenience of attending a meeting from home. Typically, the meeting’s Friday night schedule would include a worship service followed by a visit to the hospitality suite, giving members a chance to visit. This time the hospitality suite was on a computer screen, but it served the purpose well and participants were able to visit with one another.

Saturday afternoon Vickie Vogel, a TJHS past president, presented a program on the flu epidemic of 1918. It was so similar to what is going on today; in 1918 there were huge protests against wearing masks. History does seem to repeat itself.

Saturday night after Havdalah, member Mel Eichelbaum discussed his experiences as a legal aid lawyer. Eichelbaum tried cases before the U.S. Supreme Court five times. Among them was the case of a woman who had a child out of wedlock and was seeking child support from the father of the child. An 82-year-old law stated that a woman who had a child out of wedlock was financially responsible for the child. Eichelbaum was able to get that law off the books, which had an enormous effect on a father’s responsibility and women’s rights.

Committee chairs voiced their reports at Sunday morning’s board meeting. The grants committee reported that no grant requests have been received, despite funds being available for Jewish projects in all media including print, audio and video. Details for submissions to the grants committee are available at txjhs.org.  

The Briscoe Center in Austin, which houses the TJHS archives, is temporarily closed so no donations to the collection are being accepted at this time. The Jewish display at the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio is being updated, and the center is also temporarily closed.

The TJHS now has 515 members. The website was viewed nearly 3,000 times from July through September. The winter meeting is scheduled for Jan. 29-31 and will be a virtual zoom event. ■  

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