Robert Bank

Robert Bank is President and CEO of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the world’s leading Jewish organization working to end poverty and promote human rights in the developing world. Robert joined AJWS in 2009 as its Executive Vice President to both grow and deepen the organization’s impact in championing the rights of the world’s poorest and most oppressed people.

Marching for Climate Justice

As I prepare to travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Climate March, I am deeply focused on our Jewish obligation to repair the world and safeguard the earth and its inhabitants. As Genesis tells it, it took six days to create the complex majesty of the universe. Today, I fear that we are …Read More

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In Every Generation, Change is Possible

This piece is part of AJWS’s Chag v’Chesed publication series. As Passover approaches, I am contemplating the ancient Israelites’ journey from slavery to freedom and thinking about the journeys that lie ahead of us. While today, American Jews aren’t facing the shackles or hard labor experienced by our ancestors in Egypt, our collective memory of …Read More

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Why I Am Marching

For me, history is about footsteps. Moving from one place to another. From one reality to another. As Jews, our ancestors moved from slavery in Egypt toward freedom. They were not freed by standing still; they had to walk toward their redemption, one step at a time. For those of us today who wish to …Read More

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A destroyed home in Les Irois, Department of Grand’Anse in southern Haiti. Photo by Nixon Boumba

No One Should Live in a Sukkah Year-Round

On Rosh HaShanah, Hurricane Matthew hammered Haiti and the Dominican Republic, leaving behind a new trail of destruction on an island still reeling from the earthquake of 2010. Now, as we celebrate Sukkot—a time when we contemplate fragility, shelter, and resilience—I’m thinking about the people of Haiti, the poorest country in our hemisphere, who have endured unimaginable destruction.

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Left to right: Ah Noh, Robert, Caroline, Barbara, Boumba and Praneeta

What Keeps Me Hopeful

The early days of the summer of 2016 have been bitter ones. Orlando, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, Dallas, Nice, Baghdad and Istanbul—the bloody streets of these cities tell the story. Immigrants vilified, African-American men murdered, and LGBT people massacred. From the campaign trail to angry Twitter feeds, people driven by intolerance, xenophobia, misogyny and racism have seized the day. Yet, I remain hopeful. As the Indian novelist and human rights activist Arundhati Roy put it, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

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Elie Wiesel (Photo by David Shankbone)

Remembering Elie Wiesel

“Because I remember, I despair. Because I remember, I have the duty to reject despair.” These profound words are those of Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor, Nobel Laureate, author, and founding board member of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), who died on Saturday at age 87.

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For LGBT Pride, I’m Fighting for a Human Rights Movement for Everyone

This past weekend, I marched with AJWS staff and supporters in New York City’s Pride Parade. It felt especially poignant to march together in the wake of the Orlando shooting; to show that love will triumph over hate. As we marched, I thought of fellow activists around the world who are risking their own lives for the dignity of LGBT people. Some of these activists are LGBT people themselves. Others are not.

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Mourning, Pride and Perseverance

I am horrified, as I know the world is, by this past weekend’s murderous and hateful attack on LGBT people in Orlando. In the wake of this atrocity, I am joining with our AJWS community to pause, remember and mourn, so we can find the strength to fight another day.

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