AJWS Elects New Board Chair

 

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AJWS Elects New Board Chair

Barbara Dobkin, Leading Funder of Women and Girls Projects, Begins Term

New York, NY; July 6, 2009— AJWS has announced that Barbara Dobkin will serve as its new board chair, the organization's principal lay leadership position.

Dobkin is a passionate advocate for women and girls in both Jewish and secular life. She was founding chair of the Jewish Women's Archive's Board of Directors and the founder and chair of Ma'yan: The Jewish Women's Project of the JCC in Manhattan. In addition, Dobkin is a significant supporter and advisor to a variety of other organizations serving women and girls in the United States and Israel. These include The Hadassah Foundation, where she was founding chair of the board, and the Dafna Fund, where she is chair of the board.

Dobkin also currently serves on the boards of Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community and the Women's Funding Network.

An international development and human rights organization, AJWS's mission is to alleviate hunger, poverty and disease among people of the developing world, regardless of race, religion or nationality.  AJWS also champions, within the American Jewish community, the fundamental relationship between Judaism, global citizenship and social justice. AJWS provides financial support to more than 400 grassroots community-based organizations in the developing world and sends hundreds of Jewish volunteers each year to work and learn in the communities it serves.  

As AJWS's board chair, not only will Dobkin continue her involvement in the empowerment of women around the world— a great many of AJWS's partner organizations focus on enabling women to serve as primary agents of change in the areas of healthcare, sustainable development and education— but she will be able to formally connect her leadership in the international development and human rights arenas to Judaism's imperative to pursue social justice.

"AJWS is moving into its 25th anniversary year," Dobkin told the board earlier this week.  "And, in those 25 years, I cannot think of another Jewish organization that has so drastically redefined what it means for Jews to be engaged in a world that desperately calls for our participation."

She continued: "I am overwhelmingly honored to be involved with an organization that is providing leadership where so few Jewish organizations are engaged in meaningful ways, one that is confronting the world's most critical challenges in the name of the Jewish people.

"In the 21st century, the Jewish community must venture outward. AJWS is charting the course, and we will not retreat from this responsibility because of difficult economic times. Indeed, we are working even harder to take the proactive role required by our faith. This is precisely the time for us - as Jews - to assert, front and center, the imperative for tikkun olam.

"What drew me to AJWS, in the first place, was the belief that while many others are doing outstanding work in the developing world, there needs to be a Jewish voice at the table.  Our tradition teaches us to listen to and respect the other, to hear his or her ideas, and then to empower individuals to become agents of change in their own communities."

Dobkin succeeds James Meier, whose term expired in June.