AJWS Bay Area: What’s Happening

December 2016

Thank you for the amazing responses to my accident. The emails, cards and gifts have meant so much to me and my family. In addition, I would like to thank those who reached out to our incredible SF staff to offer them your support and guidance. We really are a community—focused on helping those far away, as well as close to home.

The U.S. election is now a month behind us, and while little is clear, my colleagues and I believe the role of the NGO community—especially those who work for human rights—will become even more critical than ever. As a Jewish organization, representing a people who have experienced persecution, it is imperative that we send a clear message that we will continue to fight for the rights of those whose rights are threatened abroad and in our own communities.

Hard as it might feel right now, democracy is a core element of freedom, and for so many of our grantees, it remains something elusive or precarious. With Chanukah—a story of light and hope—on the horizon, AJWS continues to support those who seek the freedom to elect their leaders, to love who they love, and to fulfill their potential regardless of race or gender.

We recently heard from an AJWS grantee in Uganda who was celebrating his 30th birthday and had lived his entire life under one president. He was adamant that he and his colleagues continue to fight for their rights and find ways to make meaningful change.

Some of you had the honor last year to meet AJWS grantee Khun Kit San, who has dedicated his life to educating young people in Burma about democracy. He grew up in a country riddled with political violence, and yet he made the decision to stand up for what he believes in: empowering young people to vote. Last November, more than 30 million people voted in Burma for the first time since 1962. It was not a perfect election—the Rohingya and other minorities did not get to vote, and many elderly people felt too intimidated to do so—but it was an important step, instilling hope for the future.

This is what makes Chanukah so relevant for us today. In the spirit of the festival, I hope you will join us at the AJWS Holiday party on December 14th at One Market in San Francisco. It will be an opportunity for us at AJWS to show our appreciation for your generosity and dedication to human rights, and it will bring our AJWS community together.

Thank you for all your help and support for our incredibly brave grantees.

Alon Shalev
Executive Director, San Francisco and Western Region

AJWS Bay Area Upcoming Events

Books Beyond Borders Marin

In January, we will be discussing The Ladies of Managua by Eleni Gage, as well as AJWS’s work in Nicaragua.

Osher Marin JCC
January 31, 2017, 7:00 p.m.

200 N. San Pedro Rd
San Rafael, CA 94903

Please RSVP online. For more information, contact Nina Gerber at ngerber@ajws.org.

Opportunity to Double Your Impact

Global Circle Match: Longtime AJWS supporter and Chair of the San Francisco Global Circle Steering Committee, Ilana Shapiro, has pledged an $18,000 matching grant in memory of her father through the Eric A. Shapiro, MD Memorial Fund. Ilana’s grant will double the impact of all gifts made by Global Circle—a community of young professionals from around the country who are investing in AJWS’s work across the developing world.

Travel With Us

February 26, 2017 – March 5, 2017
Travel with AJWS on an inspiring journey to Uganda, where we will engage in dialogue with local leaders and intellectuals who will offer insights into the unique challenges of securing human rights in this complex country.

June 18, 2017 – June 23, 2017
Journey with AJWS and our President and CEO, Robert Bank, through Guatemala, where we will explore Mayan communities and volcanic vistas while delving into the aftershocks of the country’s decade-long civil war.

February 18, 2018 – February 25, 2018
Join AJWS on an unforgettable trip to India, where we will meet grassroots groups working to protect the lives and lands of India’s people.