T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights held their annual benefit to honor and celebrate tireless human rights heroes on May 7, 2015. T'ruah's Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Rabbi Jerome K. Davidson. Rabbi Davidson serves on the faculty of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and in the past was president of the HUC-JIR Rabbinic Alumni Association and a member of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors. He is also Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth-El of Great Neck, New York.
At the benefit, Rabbi Davidson spoke of his work as a "bridge builder," and especially of his work with the Muslim community. "Today, dialogue with the American Islamic community is exceedingly important. These people, adults and children, are neighbors and fellow Americans. They live in dread of the rising Islamaphobia in our country and, sadly, in the Jewish community as well. We need to speak together, joining in social action activities and even worship. We do this to dispel ignorance about the other, to destroy the stereotypes that distance us, and to recapture the sense of pluralism, tolerance, and respect that is America."
"The College-Institute takes enormous pride in Rabbi Jerome Davidson, a great teacher and mentor to our students and the moving force behind our social responsibility curriculum," stated Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, Ph.D., President, HUC-JIR. "His commitment to social justice and human rights is a source of inspiration for our students, our faculty, our lay leaders, and the Reform Movement."
T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights brings together rabbis and cantors from all streams of Judaism, together with all members of the Jewish community, to act on the Jewish imperative to respect and advance the human rights of all people. Grounded in Torah and Jewish historical experience and guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, T'ruah calls upon Jews to assert Jewish values by raising our voices and taking concrete steps to protect and expand human rights in North America, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories.