August 11, 2005
Boxer Praises FOUNDATION
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) recently recognized Steven Spielberg's Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation in Washington, D.C., by bestowing on it the Boxer Excellence in Education Award.
"I am pleased to present my Excellence in Education Award to the Shoah Foundation," Boxer said. "The Shoah Foundation has done an outstanding job of educating people about the tragedy of the Holocaust. Through the use of video testimony, they are teaching the next generation about the importance of working for justice and tolerance around the world."
Accepting the award, Shoah Foundation President and CEO Douglas Greenberg said, "We are pleased and honored to receive this award. Sen. Boxer's dedication to fostering social justice and cross-cultural understanding among Californians and all Americans, strengthens and reaffirms the mission of the Shoah Foundation. Her recognition -- through this award -- of the potential of education to defeat prejudice, intolerance and bigotry helps us face the task ahead with renewed confidence."
The Shoah Foundation was established in 1994 by Spielberg to tape and preserve video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and witnesses. After recording almost 52,000 video testimonies in 56 countries and 32 languages, the Shoah Foundation's mission today is to overcome prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry -- and the suffering they cause -- through the educational use of the foundation's testimonies.
Andrea Silagi of Encino was elected to her first term as a national vice president of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, at the organization's 91st annual convention, which just concluded in Washington, D.C. She will also serve as the chair of foundations.
Also elected were: June Walker, of Rockaway, N.J., to her third term as the 23rd national president of Hadassah; Ruth B. Hurwitz, as national treasurer, and Mona Wood, as national secretary, both of Baltimore, Md.
Some 1,500 Hadassah members from 37 states held 150 meetings with their local congressional representatives, both in the House and Senate to discuss Hadassah's positions on foreign aid for Israel, stem cell research and genetic discrimination and the Iran Freedom Support Act.
This year's Henrietta Szold Award, Hadassah's highest honor, was awarded to a husband-and-wife team: Daniel C. Kurtzer, U.S. ambassador to Israel, and his wife, Sheila Kurtzer. In awarding them this honor, former Hadassah National President Bonnie Lipton announced that Hadassah was establishing an annual scholarship for Young Judaea's Year Course in the Kurtzers' name.
For complete information about Hadassah, visit www.hadassah.org.
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) has announced that B'nai Tikvah Congregation of Westchester has been selected to receive the Solomon Schechter Award for Excellence in Synagogue Programming. This award is presented to congregations affiliated with the United Synagogue that have distinguished themselves during the preceding two years in aspects of congregational life.
Ileene Morris was honored for her work with Hazak, whose chapters were developed to successfully reach out to the senior population.
"Ileene is a blessing. Her hard work and devotion are appreciated by all members of the congregation, especially the seniors it benefits," Rabbi Jason van Leeuwen said.
The award will be presented in a ceremony at the USCJ International Biennial Convention to be held at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, Mass., from Dec. 4-8.
Social Justice for All
Eighteen Reform Jews from across North America traveled to Israel to participate in 10 days' worth of social justice service learning as part of Tzevet Mitzvot: Israel Mitzvah Corps. Sponsored by the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, the July 3-14 trip engaged participants with hands-on projects, study and discussion with religious and political leaders and the hospitality of Israeli Reform Jews.
"As Reform Jews, we are driven by our vision of a world redeemed by justice, mercy and peace, and our role in making that a reality," said Evelyn Laser Shlensky, leader of the mission and immediate past chair of the URJ Commission on Social Action.
Participants worked on a variety of projects throughout the land of Israel. In Tel Aviv, they explored the plight of Israel's foreign workers at the Workers' Hotline; in Jaffa, they learned about the realms in which the Israeli Reform Movement is involved in social action and awareness; outside Jerusalem, they discussed the ramifications of Israel's security fence with members of Rabbis for Human Rights, and inside the capital, they met with a member of the Knesset to talk about social justice and visited Yad Lakashish Project, a multifaceted workshop for senior citizens and the disabled.