It’s a season of celebration and light, and yet our world still feels painfully dark. It can be hard to feel optimistic that peace is on the horizon and that hate will soon sunset.

But we can’t merely be optimistic that hate will disappear on its own. “Optimism is a passive virtue, hope an active one,” explains the British rabbi, philosopher, and author, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. “It needs no courage to be an optimist, but it takes a great deal of courage to hope.”

We have to summon this courage. It was this courage that led poet Naftali Hertz Imber to pen a nine-stanza Hebrew poem, “Hatikvah,” or “The Hope” in 1878. The Zionist hymn, expressing hope and yearning for a Jewish homeland, became the unofficial anthem for Israel upon its founding in 1948 and the official anthem in 2004.

At its core, Hatikvah reflects the notion that hope is a critical element of the Jewish experience throughout the millennia. And central to hope is courage.

In a world that’s increasingly hard to navigate, our museum invites visitors to courageously engage with their values and learn about those different from themselves. It’s a communal space dedicated to recognizing the impacts of antisemitism and all forms of hatred, encouraging each individual’s involvement in healing these divides. We believe in the power of education to inspire hope.

As we approach the end of 2023 and a new year dawns, I am focusing on the possibility of what lies ahead in 2024. In the coming year, we will break ground on the new Holocaust Museum for Hope & Humanity, ushering in a new era of opportunity for education and hope for our central Florida community, our visitors, our nation, and our world.

On the eve of this new year, may our hope not yet be lost—and may we all find the courage to nurture that unwavering hope.

Talli Dippold – Chief Executive Officer