Presentation of the 2022 Roger E. Joseph Prize toGavi, The Vaccine AllianceAndrew Rehfeld, Ph.D. – May 8, 2022
At these Ordination Ceremonies of our 147th academic year, we express our hopes for the future, as exemplified by the young rabbis and cantors of the Class of 2022 / 5782 who will be embarking upon careers of dedicated service to the Jewish People and the larger world.
During this time, it is our tradition to confer the Roger E. Joseph Prize to pay tribute to extraordinary humanitarian achievements in our own day that are a source of inspiration to us all.
The Roger E. Joseph Prize was established 43 years ago by Burton Joseph and Betty Greenberg, of blessed memory. They created this Prize to honor the memory of their brother, Roger, a man of exceptional personal courage and passionate devotion to principle and justice.
It is particularly poignant that we are presenting the Joseph Prize during a period of global pandemic – reminiscent of the era when Roger E. Joseph was tragically afflicted by the polio epidemic of seventy years ago. His remarkable fortitude continues to remind us to be resilient and hopeful, even in the direst of circumstances.
Roger E. Joseph’s legacy of courage and passionate advocacy for justice have been sustained since 1978, when the first Joseph Prize was presented to Victor Kugler, who risked his and his loved ones’ lives to shelter Anne Frank and her family.
For the past 43 years, the Joseph Prize has been presented to outstanding individuals, organizations, or institutions whose work fulfills the highest ethical values of our tradition. The Joseph Prize recipients have been recognized for
eradicating racial prejudice and religious discrimination;
commemorating the victims of the Holocaust;
demonstrating exceptional altruism as righteous rescuers;
promoting peace in the Middle East;
supporting the victims of trauma;
ending hunger; and
advancing the cause of human rights and social responsibility.
The Jewish People are a people of memory, inspired from generation to generation by our Torah and by our faith’s prophetic values asserting the sanctity of human life. These moral and humanitarian values are intrinsic to the organization we are honoring today: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance.
Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective investments in health and development in history. As part of its mission to save lives and protect people’s health by increasing equitable and sustainable use of vaccines, Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, was created in 1999 and formally launched in January 2000. It is an independent public-private partnership and multilateral funding mechanism that aims to expand global access to and use of vaccines, particularly among vulnerable children. Since its launch in 2000, Gavi has disbursed over $13 billion and supported immunization efforts in 77 low- and middle-income countries, and co-led and administered COVAX, a multilateral effort to equitably procure and distribute COVID-19 vaccines globally.
Please join me in welcoming the three generations of the Joseph family with us today – I would ask them to please rise:
Roxane and Jonathan Leopold, their children Jesse, Sarah and Jack, and their grandchildren Jack, George, Porter and Mason
Ellen Joseph and Dennis Ready
Linda Karshan, her children Roger and Ali, and on the livestream in London, Thomas and Sarah, and her grandchildren Georgia, Harper, Zena, and Zachary
And now, I call upon the daughters of Roger E. Joseph – Roxane Leopold, Ellen Joseph, and Linda Karshan, and his grandchildren – Roger Karshan, Sarah Zampell, and Jesse Leopold, for the presentation of the Roger E. Joseph Prize to Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, represented by Paolo Sison, Gavi’s Director of Innovative Finance.