Guardian of the Human Spirit Luncheon

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2023 Guardian of the Human Spirit Luncheon
honoring Rhona and Bruce Caress

Special Guest Speaker Thomas Schlamme

Monday, November 20, 2023
Hilton Americas-Houston
1600 Lamar St.
Registration at 11 a.m. | Lunch/Program at Noon

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Each year, the Museum’s annual luncheon raises essential funds supporting Holocaust and Human Rights education for students, teachers, members and the public. The recipients of this year’s Guardian of the Human Spirit Award will be Rhona and Bruce Caress, active supporters of Holocaust Museum Houston (HMH) since its inception in 1996. The Caresses are members of HMH’s Leadership Circle, Generation to Generation Legacy Society and Cornerstone Society. Bruce served as a Board of Advisor from 2014 to 2020, and together the Caresses served as Silver Jubilee Chairs for the Museum’s recent anniversary, as well as host committee members for numerous Guardian of the Human Spirit Award Luncheons and Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award Dinners. Their legacy is literally cemented in the foundation of the Museum with the naming of the second floor’s Caress Family Education and Arts Floor and the Rhona and Bruce Caress Gallery, And Still I Write: Young Diarists on War and Genocide. Active with the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston’s Connection Mission to Israel, the Caresses are also members of Congregation Beth Yeshurun, Rhona and Bruce Caress Family Campus and supporters of the Emery/Weiner School as a Board Member and Rothschild Society Member. Additionally, they are Minyan club and Legacy members of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and supporters of the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (FIDF). Jointly, the Caresses share three sons and seven grandchildren.

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Special guest speaker is Thomas Schlamme, a native Houstonian and nine-time Emmy Award-winning director and executive producer. He is responsible for creating the look and tone of groundbreaking shows that have shaped the landscape of modern television including his long-lasting partnership with writer Aaron Sorkin spanning three series – The West Wing, Sports Night, and Studio 60. Schlamme, a 2nd Generation Holocaust Survivor, is the son of Otto Schlamme, z”l, and nephew of Ruth Schnitzer, z”l.

Thank you for your support of Holocaust Museum Houston!

Luncheon Chairs
Mandy & Ronnie Caress
Denise & Steve Estrin
Jessica Strehlow & Brian Caress

Host Committee Chairs
Vicky & Michael Richker

Since 1997, Holocaust Museum Houston (HMH) has recognized dedicated individuals and organizations who have worked to enhance the lives of others with the Guardian of the Human Spirit Award. These individuals and organizations embody the mission of the Museum by demonstrating a true commitment to service and building an open-minded society for the enrichment of the local population.

Previous recipients of the award have included Y. Ping Sun and David W. Leebron; Punkin and Walter Hecht; Dr. Milton Boniuk; the Astros Foundation; Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and Aggie Liberators of World War II; UT President Gregory L. Fenves and The University of Texas at Austin; Ric Campo; Velva G. and H. Fred Levine; Edith and Josef Mincberg, Bill Morgan and Murry Bowden; the Harry Mach family; KIPP founders Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg; former Mayor Annise Parker, Barbara and Gerald Hines; Marc J. Shapiro; Lester and Sue Smith; Sandra Weiner and Martin Fein; Naomi Warren and Fred Zeidman; Joan and Stanford Alexander; Ed Wulfe and the H-E-B grocery chain; Jack Blanton and The Houston Chronicle; the Rev. William A. Lawson and Julie and Ben Rogers; Linda P. Lay and Siegi Izakson; and Ron Stone.

Questions? Contact Amanda Shagrin at 713-527-1622 or