AJWS Los Angeles: What’s Happening

September 2015

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.

Allison Lee
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 lglick@ajws.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 eholm@ajws.org 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 eholm@ajws.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 alee@ajws.org 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 lglick@ajws.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:

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.

AJWS in the News!