AJWS Los Angeles: What’s Happening

December 2015

While the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, which begins at sundown on December 6th, is largely associated with exchanging gifts and lighting candles, at its root it is a celebration of rededication. On Chanukah we remember the past and renew our confidence in the present and the future.

This season, rededication takes on a special meaning at AJWS. As we announced in October, Ruth Messinger will be stepping down as President on July 1st, 2016—after 17 years of remarkable leadership. As Ruth becomes our first-ever Global Ambassador, Robert Bank, AJWS’s Executive Vice President for the past six and a half years, will become our next President. We will have the opportunity to welcome Robert to Los Angeles at our annual holiday party on December 10th and to honor Ruth’s inspiring legacy at our ‘AJWS at 30’ gala in Los Angeles on March 13th, 2016.

The continuity between Ruth and Robert ensures that AJWS is strong at a time when our grantmaking, capacity building and advocacy are essential. Global poverty, disease and war darken our world, but activism and solidarity bring us light and inspire us to act.

Your ongoing and generous dedication to AJWS makes our work possible. If you have not already made your year-end gift to AJWS, I hope that you will do so now. Donations can be made online and will benefit our 550 grassroots and global social justice grantees across Africa, Asia, Latin American and the Caribbean.

The AJWS-Los Angeles team remains dedicated to providing you with multiple opportunities to engage in our work, without ever having to leave our city. I hope that you will take a look at the events and programs listed below—and join us.

With wishes for a Chanukah celebration that reconnects us to our commitment to global justice, and a festive holiday season,

Allison Lee
Executive Director, AJWS Southern California

Chanukah Resources

As you light the menorah this year, consider including this Chanukah reflection by our future President, Robert Bank, or one of these AJWS Chanukah readings that reflect on the power of social justice in challenging the world’s darkness. We offer many other resources that share how each one of us can bring light to our world.

Shine a Light for Human Rights

This December 10th at 7:00 p.m., we’re returning to Sage Bistro in Culver City for our annual holiday party commemorating International Human Rights Day and Chanukah! Let’s celebrate our 2014-15 Global Justice Fellows and give a warm welcome to special guest AJWS Executive Vice President and President-Elect Robert Bank. This festive evening will feature several signature cocktails, hearty hors d’oeuvres, and dreidels and gelt galore. Click here to RSVP and feel free to share with your family and friends.

Honor Our Global Leaders at the Gala

We hope you’ve already marked your calendars for the inaugural AJWS-Los Angeles gala on March 13th, 2016, at the Montage Beverly Hills! We are thrilled to be honoring the indefatigable Ruth Messinger and her remarkable 17-year presidency.

Visit ajws.org/LAGala for more details or to purchase packages. If you would like your name to be printed on the invitation and program, please make your contribution by December 7th, 2015. For more information, please contact ajws@stampeventco.com.

Global Circle Scene

On November 18th, Global Circle Los Angeles hosted Reel Action/Real Change, an exciting evening of film and conversation, at WME. The event showcased documentaries tackling issues ranging from LGBT rights in the Philippines to activism in Burma to peacebuilding in Rwanda. Following a cocktail reception and screening, the brilliant Mayim Bialik, Emmy-nominated actor, writer and neuroscientist, moderated a discussion about documentary film as a tool for sharing the stories of the activists who dare to envision a better world.

Your Favorite Sunday Brunch Spot: Bites of Jewish Justice

On November 22nd, we held a special Thanksgiving edition of Bites of Jewish Justice with Rabbi Susan Goldberg of Wilshire Boulevard Temple and Gary Blasi, lawyer, poverty researcher and professor, who discussed the pervasiveness of homelessness and hunger in Los Angeles and globally. Our Bites of Jewish Justice series will continue in 2016 on January 24th with Rabbi Aryeh Cohen of American Jewish University. Rabbi Cohen will lead us in a discussion of “The Way of the Good and the Path of the Just: Social Justice as a Spiritual Path.” To RSVP and learn more, click here or email Lila at lglick@ajws.org.

Your Voice Matters

Join the AJWS community in urging our government to take a stand against human rights violations worldwide. Add your voice below:

AJWS’s 30 at 30 Highlights the Outstanding Contribution of Local Leaders

Check out this stellar group of Angelenos who are a part of AJWS 30 at 30, which highlights our supporters from around the world: