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Morris Dees, Jr., and the Southern Poverty Law Center Awarded the 2001 Roger E. Joseph Prize

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Friday, June 1, 2001


Morris S. Dees, Jr., receiving the 2001 Roger E. Joseph Prize from Rabbi Norman J. Cohen, Acting President, at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's Ordination and Investiture Service, May 20, 2001, in the presence of the late Roger E. Joseph's daughters (from left) Linda Karshan, Ellen Joseph, grand-daughter Sara Leopold, and Roxanne Leopold.

New York - The Southern Poverty Law Center and Morris S. Dees, Jr. received the 2001 Roger E. Joseph Prize at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's Ordination and Investiture Service, May 20, 2001 at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City. The Joseph Prize is awarded annually to an individual or organization which, by virtue of religious and moral commitment, has made a distinctive contribution to humanity.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and its founder, Mr. Dees, Jr., were honored for bringing to justice those who participate in bigotry and violence. In a recent landmark case, Mr. Dees and the Center used legal means to bankrupt the Aryan Nations compound in Idaho that has nurtured white supremacists for more than 20 years, including Robert Matthews, who assassinated Jewish talk-show host Alan Berg and is recognized as the model for the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

In accepting the award, Mr. Dees, Jr. noted, "About two months ago I had the opportunity to visit the Aryan Nations headquarter in Idaho. Our clients had gained control of the property in a substantial judgement against founder and self-described "pastor" or the Aryan Nations, Richard Butler, Michael Teague, his deputy, and members of his armed security force. As I stood in "Aryan Hall," the compound's assembly hall, decorated with large photographs of Eichmann, Hitler, and Goebbels, I was reminded how present and real hatred is in the United States today. I am grateful to the American judicial system and democratic process for seeking justice and fighting those who preach hate."

The 2001 Roger E. Joseph Prize ceremony: (from left) Burton Lehman, Chair, Board of Governors, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion; Rabbi Norman J. Cohen, Acting President; members of the Joseph family, Roxanne and Sara Leopold, Linda Karshan, Ellen Joseph, and Burton Joseph; and Morris S. Dees, Jr., founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center.




Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.