ATZUM and Rabbi Levi Lauer Received :Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s Highest Honor: :Roger E. Joseph Prize

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, awarded the 2011 Roger E. Joseph Prize will to ATZUM-Justice Works and Rabbi Levi Lauer (right), its Founding Executive Director.  Established in 2002 in Israel, ATZUM endeavors to open eyes and extend hands to those in need, to confront and remedy injustices in Israel. ATZUM’s work is founded on the belief that Israel should serve as an example for the rest of the world in addressing social problems and crises. It encourages individuals to become social activists and be part of a process providing assistance and creating change.

The ceremony took place during Ordination and Investiture Services at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York on Sunday, May 8, 2011, at 9 am, when 12 new rabbis were ordained and 6 new cantors were invested.

ATZUM encourages individuals to become social activists and be part of a process providing assistance and creating change. ATZUM is able to make a crucial difference in the following areas:

  • Assistance to Survivors of Terror: Countless Israeli families have suffered significant trauma and serious economic difficulties following death or injury. ATZUM assists 350 families to regain stability, particularly those whose major wage earner has been incapacitated. 
  • Support to Righteous Among the Nations: Israel is a home to a group of rescuers and their spouses who risked their lives to save Jews during the Shoah. ATZUM helps meet the basic needs of this heroic, elderly population and protects and improves their quality of life. 
  • Support for Victims of Human Trafficking: Approximately 2,500 women a yearillegally enter the country over the Egyptian border as modern day slaves. ATZUM works to compel the government to commit significant resources in the areas of prevention, protection, and prosecution.

About the Joseph Prize and Previous Recipients

The Roger E. Joseph Prize was established thirty years ago by a generous gift from Burton M. Joseph and his sister, Mrs. Betty Greenberg, in memory of their brother, a lawyer, World War II hero, and polio victim.  Although almost completely paralyzed, he resumed his law practice and advanced causes of social justice, inspired by his own exceptional personal courage and passionate devotion to principle and justice.

The first Joseph Prize was awarded in 1978, to Victor Kugler, who risked his and his loved ones’ lives to shelter Anne Frank and her family. Over the past thirty years, the Joseph Prize recipients have included:

  • The people of Le Chambon, a Huguenot village in France which rescued thousands of Jewish children during the Holocaust;
  • Helen Suzman, a leader of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa;
  • The Center for Legal and Social Studies, the most prominent human rights group in Argentina;
  • Rosa Parks, the “mother” of the American civil rights movement;
  • Vu Than Thuy and the Boat People SOS Committee, responsible for the rescue of thousands of Vietnamese refugees stranded in the South China Sea;
  • The First Congregational Church of Billings, Montana, and the Montana Association of Churches for their moral and spiritual conviction in combating prejudice and anti-Semitic hate crimes.
  • The Center for Victims of Torture and the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture;
  • Morris S. Dees, and the Southern Poverty Law Center;
  • The Humanitarian Law Center and Natasa Kandic for their courageous research and dissemination of the documentation of genocide in Kosovo;
  • Daniel Pearl, posthumously, and the Daniel Pearl Foundation, to honor the memory and mission of this inspiring and courageous journalist, of blessed memory, whose integrity was grounded in a commitment to justice and a love for humanity;
  • Jan Egeland, under Secretary General of Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations, for rescue efforts in Darfurand around the globe;
  • Morris S. Dees, and the Southern Poverty Law Center;
  • The Humanitarian Law Center and Natasa Kandic for their courageous research and dissemination of the documentation of genocide in Kosovo;
  • Chaplain Mychal Judge, of blessed memory, and the City of New York Fire Department, for their heroic efforts to rescue and provide comfort on September 11th, 2001;
  • Daniel Pearl, posthumously, and the Daniel Pearl Foundation, to honor the memory and mission of this inspiring and courageous journalist, of blessed memory, whose integrity was grounded in a commitment to justice and a love for humanity;
  • Jan Egeland, under Secretary General of Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations, for rescue efforts in Darfur and around the globe; and
  • Father Patrick Desbois for devoting his life to confronting anti-Semitism, furthering Catholic-Jewish understanding, and preserving Holocaust memory.

 

Click here for more information on the HUC-JIR Graduation, Investiture, and Ordination ceremonies in New York, Los Angeles, and Cincinnati.

Click here to view the national invitation for event details.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first 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 American Jewish Archives, 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. www.huc.edu