Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) awarded the 2003 Roger E. Joseph Prize to Daniel Pearl, posthumously, and The Daniel Pearl Foundation. The prize was accepted by Professor Judea Pearl, Daniel Pearl’s father, at HUC-JIR’s Ordination and Investiture Services held at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York on May 4. In presenting this award, Rabbi David Ellenson, President of HUC-JIR, said: “In recognizing Daniel Pearl’s commitment to moral and humanitarian values and this extraordinary young journalist’s life’s mission, we rededicate our own commitment to ensure Jewish continuity and to defend the human rights of all people.”
The Roger E. Joseph Prize is an international award presented annually to an individual or organization, which by virtue of religious and moral commitment, has made a distinctive contribution to humanity. Established in 1978 by Burton Joseph and Betty Greenberg to memorialize their brother, previous recipients of the $10,000 award include Victor Kugler, who gave refuge to Anne Frank and her family during the Holocaust; Helen Suzman, the South African anti-apartheid activist; Rosa Parks, the mother of the modern American civil rights movement; the village of Le Chambon, which gave refuge to Jews and Christians fleeing the Nazis during the Holocaust; Johan Jorgen Holst, posthumously, for facilitating the Middle East Peace Accords; The Center for Victims of Torture and the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture; the Institute of Contemporary History and Wiener Library in London and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw for their preservation and dissemination of historic information about the destruction of European Jewry during the Holocaust; the Southern Poverty Law Center and Morris Dees, Jr. for their decades-long legal work pursuing justice and fair treatment while combating prejudice and hate; and Chaplain Mychal Judge, posthumously, and The City of New York Fire Department for their heroic efforts to rescue and provide comfort on September 11, 2001.
In presenting the Joseph Prize, Burton Joseph stated: “Daniel Pearl was an inspiring and courageous journalist, whose integrity was grounded in a commitment to justice and a love for humanity. A citizen of the world, he was murdered by Islamic terrorists in Pakistan primarily because of his Jewish identity.” In his address, Professor Judea Pearl said: “History will record that there was a young man who, in a moment of extreme crisis, looked straight in the eye of evil and said: ‘My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.’… To Danny, ‘I am Jewish’ meant ‘I respect Islam precisely because I am Jewish, and I expect you to respect me and my faith precisely because you are, or claim to be good Moslem.’ In other words, ‘I come from a place where one’s heritage is the source of one’s strength, and where strength is measured by one’s capacity to accommodate diversity, because it is only through diversity that we recognize our common humanity….’”
He was killed because he represented the ideals of modernity, pluralism, freedom of inquiry, truth, honesty, and respect for all people. His hopes and dreams of tolerance and understanding are a living legacy, sustained by The Daniel Pearl Foundation (http://www.danielpearl.org), for all who would help create a better world.
Professor Pearl remarked:
" History recalls another Jewish person whose face and tragic end personified the horrors of an era -- Anne Frank. Paralleling the story of Anne Frank in the early 1950's, the drama of Daniel Pearl now inspires Jews and non-Jews alike to reflect on the anatomy of hatred and the consequences of anti-Semitism and to stand up for tolerance and understanding everywhere.
"The difference however is that the diary of Anne Frank was discovered after the Holocaust, while Danny's story came to public attention in time to prevent a Holocaust. This gives us the hope that, some day, I will be able to tell my grandson:
"‘You see, Adam? Your father's legacy helped us win that battle! Humanity has triumphed!’”