One thousand people sat in the grand ballroom of the Fairmount Hotel in downtown Dallas on November 11th to support The Holocaust Museum Center for Education and Tolerance. It was wonderful to see survivors and their families at the dinner, many of whom are members of Shearith Israel. The evening was co-chaired by our own Veronique Jonas.
The honoree for the evening was football legend and local Dallas businessman, Roger Staubach. After being presented with the Museum’s most coveted award, Roger addressed the audience. He spoke of his values and the importance of remembering the Shoah. He recounted the heroism and courage of those who battled evil and how we must still, in our generation, educate others and fight evil wherever it raises its ugly head.
The football legend kept on saying how overwhelmed he was at the whole event, especially standing in front of survivors of the holocaust and in light of the millions of Jews who lost their lives. And then he made the following statement: “I have received many awards in my life; after all I did get a Heisman.” Then choking up with emotion, Roger Staubach said “Tonight’s award, the Humanitarian Award from the Holocaust Museum, is the most important, the most significant award I have received in my life.” (My paraphrase)
What a profound statement. To have a former football legend and successful businessman declare to his community that the most important accolade that has been bestowed upon him is from the Holocaust Museum, is one of the most powerful lessons we and our children can learn in an age of consumerism, materialism and empty values which often trivialize the importance and significance of life. Here is man who strongly believes in the holiness of every human being. Here is man who is deeply religious in his own faith and who models in his own life what it truly means to embrace, in the most profound of ways, the ideal that each human being is created in God’s image and that we must do everything we can to make that ideal a reality for all people in this world.
I learned an important piece of Torah from a remarkable human being. May all of us be inspired by Roger Staubach’s example.