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Jewish Journal

Schulweis selected for L.A. County humanitarian award

by Brad A. Greenberg

October 1, 2008 | 10:23 pm

Rabbi Harold Schulweis of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino will be honored Oct. 23 with the John Allen Buggs Humanitarian Award, given out annually by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations.

Schulweis, who will receive the prize during the John Anson Ford Human Relations Awards luncheon, is best known today for delivering a Rosh Hashanah sermon four years ago that laid the groundwork for his human-rights organization, Jewish World Watch, which has been a leading voice in fighting the genocide in Darfur.

"In as much as God created every human being, every race, every color in his image, then they are His children and they are our brothers and sisters," the 83-year-old rabbi said recently in a brief interview. "We have an obligation to care for them, to heal their sick, to feed their hungry and to lift up their fallen."

Schulweis came to Valley Beth Shalom in 1970 and has long been one of the most influential rabbis in the country. Throughout the years he has pushed for broader recognition of the Armenian genocide, and in 1986 he started the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, which provides financial support to non-Jews who helped endangered Jews during the Holocaust but now find themselves in need.

"Rabbi Schulweis has been the spokesperson for our greatest moral causes," L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a statement. "And he has never ceased to remind us that silence in the face of genocide is inexcusable, and rhetoric without action is unacceptable."

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