This summer, we have certainly lived through some euphoric highs and devastating lows. As we continue to celebrate our country’s historic victory for marriage equality, we are also sobered by the loss of life in Virginia and Charleston, the threats to the Rohingya in Burma and the people of Haitian descent living in the Dominican Republic, who are threatened with nothing short of expulsion. I am grateful, at times like these, to be part of an organization doing such important work to turn the tide in favor of justice around the world and thankful to you for your ongoing support for this work.
While I was listening to President Obama speak after the Supreme Court ruling in June, one passage struck me as particularly relevant for our own work:
“Progress on this journey often comes in small increments—two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes there are days like this—when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.”
September is here. And with it, comes the promise of new beginnings. For those of us with school-aged children, we sense that promise in all of those new school supplies, the anxiety of the first day of classes, and the anticipation of new adventures. For those of us who celebrate the Jewish High Holy Days, we sense that promise in the hope the New Year brings, and in the conscious and careful accounting of how we can do better in the year to come. For young and old, September reminds us that while progress may be slow and incremental, its promise propels us forward.
May we rededicate ourselves in this time of new beginnings to that slow and steady work, and in the year to come, may we be rewarded with moments of justice that will ignite our spirits with hope and joy.
Executive Director, AJWS Southern California
Gardens and Grassroots
Last Sunday marked our third annual End of Summer Soirée in the beautiful garden at New Roads School. AJWS supporters from across Los Angeles gathered for an outdoor reception of iced chai and Nepalese delicacies from Tara’s Himalayan Cuisine. AJWS Director of Disaster Response Samantha Wolthuis shared stories of her work on the ground in Nepal: the triumphs and trials of disaster response and the importance of supporting communities beyond the immediate aftermath to promote inclusive and sustainable development.
Your Favorite Brunch Spot
On October 25th, at 10:00 a.m., AJWS LA’s Bites of Jewish Justice series is back! Join us as we launch the second season of our Sunday brunch and learning event—where you can be sure to find, as always, a delicious bagel spread and insightful conversation. Kicking off this season is Rabbi Aryeh Cohen of the American Jewish University. To RSVP and learn more, click here or email Lila at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Global Circle Scene
Save the date, documentary film buffs! On November 18th, Global Circle’s second annual Reel Action/Real Change event is taking place at William Morris Endeavor. Our young professionals group will be gathering for a cocktail reception followed by a film screening and discussion. A dynamic panel of filmmakers, reporters, artists and cultural critics will explore film’s vital role in shedding light on human rights abuses and in sharing the stories of the visionaries who are working for change against the odds. Email Emma at email@example.com to receive event updates.
Global Circle will also be convening on October 21st at 7:00 p.m. for the next Books Beyond Borders session. Join our young professionals reading group as we discuss Edwidge Danticat’s The Farming of Bones, a book set in the early 20th century that discusses the plight of Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic. This powerful story of persecution and statelessness is all too real and all too relevant to the atrocities experienced by these same people in the DR today. To RSVP, email Emma at firstname.lastname@example.org.
High Holiday Resources
Make AJWS a part of your High Holy Day experience. Check out our readings for Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah, especially the Chag v’Chesed written by Los Angeles Rabbi Ken Chasen of Leo Baeck Temple. We have an array of insightful and inspirational resources to bring AJWS into your Sukkah. You can also check out this week’s Dvar Tzedek written by Rabbi Michelle Missaghieh of Temple Israel of Hollywood.
AJWS at 30
SAVE THE DATE for the party that’s been 30 years in the making. Join gala co-chairs Bill Resnick and Michael J. Stubbs on March 13, 2016 for AJWS at 30: Celebrating our Global Leaders. With the beautiful Montage Beverly Hills as our venue, plans are underway for a festive and inspirational evening that will include celebrity hosts and entertainment. Join us to commemorate 30 years of building a better world and to celebrate AJWS grantees who have dedicated their lives to serving the most marginalized populations in their countries. For more information, contact Allison at email@example.com or AJWS@StampeEventCo.com.
A Change of Pace
Emma Nesper Holm, Senior Development Officer, is representing our Los Angeles contingent in the AJWS New York Marathon Team this November 1st! Read about her journey here and let’s cheer her on from afar with your support. If you’re inspired to participate in the Los Angeles marathon, AJWS-LA is currently forming a running team for the LA Marathon in 2017—we’re in it for the long haul, since as we all know, pursuing human rights is a marathon, not a sprint. Contact Lila at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Your Voice Matters
Join the AJWS community in urging our government to take a stand against human rights violations worldwide. Add your voice below:
- Tell Secretary John Kerry to help end the crisis in the Dominican Republic.
- Urge President Obama to promote the protection of refugees driven from Burma.
- Tell President Obama to lend his voice to the campaign to end child marriage worldwide.
AJWS in the News
Further Reading on Nepal and Disaster Relief
During our Summer Soiree we discussed our work in Nepal and our emergency responses from Haiti to Liberia. Check out these articles highlighting the work of our grantees and AJWS’s unique approach to disaster relief work.
- “How Not to Rebuild Nepal” by AJWS In-Country Consultant Nixon Boumba
- From the AJWS Blog, “‘Everything was lost…but hope is not finished’: Building Back Nepal”
- “Nepal Can Recover, But Only If We Change What Is Happening” by Aaron Acharya, AJWS Associate Director of Risk Management
- “Don’t go to Nepal to Help. Stay Home and Send Money Instead!” by Jessica Alexander, former AJWS staffer and author of Chasing Chaos
AJWS in the News!
- AJWS President Ruth Messinger on why “American Jews must speak out for Haitians in the Dominican Republic”
- “Thousands of Haitians are stuck in limbo in the Dominican Republic,” Washington Post editorial written after a long discussion of these issues with our D.C. Policy staff and two of our grantees from the Dominican Republic who we brought to Washington last month.