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.

“The More They Crack Down, The More We Fight Back”

With July 4th approaching, I am writing to affirm that securing the promise of democracy for the people of the world is on my mind every day, as I know it is for you. Without democratic rights, neither we nor the activists we support can fight to create a more just world. That’s why upholding …

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I’m Ready, Are You?

I have to admit, I am breathing easier. I am feeling hopeful after hearing President Biden say these simple but truthful words: “This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve.” Most profoundly, I am relieved that with these words, we are turning a page in American and world history. …

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What Biden’s win means for us

Minutes ago, an historic and hard-fought presidential election was called, and I am writing today to share my reflections on the results to share my reflections on the results of the U.S. presidential election as it relates to our shared global mission to advance human rights and end poverty. For 35 years, we have worked together …

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Defending American Democracy

I am writing you, a friend of AJWS, at this unsettling moment in our lives, the history of the United States and the world. As members of the AJWS community, we have worked together for 35 years, as American Jews who are inspired by the eternal value of respecting the dignity of every person on …

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Robert's Summer Reading List 2020

My Summer Reading List

You, the members of the AJWS community, are some of my favorite thought partners, and each summer I enjoy sharing with you my reading recommendations. Here are some of the books I’ve recently found most compelling: One of the most powerful novels I read this year, or ever, is about the horrors of racism in …

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A Time to Mourn. A Time to Act.

By now, all of us are haunted by the image of a Black man, George Floyd, being asphyxiated by a white Minneapolis police officer — recorded for all to view. I cannot get this brutal picture out of my mind, and, like you, I am heartbroken and outraged. George Floyd’s murder is the latest in …

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Just Married

I am delighted to share with you, my AJWS friends, that I got married at the end of last year. For many of us, marriage sounds like a common milestone—but it was unthinkable for someone like me in most parts of the United States until 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all states …

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Gratitude to People Who Live Close to the Earth

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving at a time of climate crisis, I am pausing to share my gratitude to Indigenous Peoples and others around the world who live close to nature, care for the earth and battle climate change. Through my travels for AJWS, I have been fortunate to meet, break bread with and …

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Hope Grows for the Ogiek People

“The forest is our heart!” Those beautiful words gave me chills when a village elder spoke them on a recent trip I made to Kenya. There I was deeply moved and motivated by the members of a special community—the indigenous Ogiek people, who for generations have cared for and thrived in the ancient Mau forest. …

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My Summer List: Read, Watch & Listen with Me

This summer, when so much of the world is riven by divisive politics and hostility, I’m reveling in books, podcasts and television shows. All these offer messages of hope but also make me think deeply about what’s wrong with our world and provide insights into making it better. Here are some of my favorites: Half …

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