Ruth W. Messinger is president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the world’s leading Jewish organization working to end poverty and realize human rights in the developing world. Ruth came to AJWS in 1998, after a 20-year career in public service in New York City. She previously served on the Obama administration’s Task Force on Global Poverty and Development. Currently, Ruth sits on the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group and co-chairs the Sub-Working Group on Social Justice.
A tireless activist and social change visionary, Ruth is known for her leadership of the movement to end the genocide in Darfur, and she is currently a leading voice for the rights and empowerment of women and LGBT people in the developing world. She helps mobilize faith-based communities throughout the U.S. to speak out on behalf of oppressed and marginalized people around the globe.
Many national Jewish organizations have honored Ruth and she has received honorary degrees from five major American rabbinical seminaries. Ruth was named to The Jewish Daily Forward’s “Forward 50” for 9 years and was listed sixth in The Jerusalem Post’s list of the world’s 50 most influential Jews. The Huffington Post included her as one of the “10 most inspiring women religious leaders of 2012.”
Ruth lectures widely on social and global justice issues and is an active member of her congregation, the Society for the Advancement of Judaism. She serves on the boards of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, Hazon, United to End Genocide, Interaction and Surprise Lake Camp.
Ruth received a B.A. from Radcliffe College and an M.S.W. from the University of Oklahoma. She is married to Andrew Lachman and has three children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
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