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.

My Summer Reading (and Listening) Diet

One of the things I love most about summer is the opportunity to dive into books, articles and podcasts. Summer, after all, is supposed to be a time when things slow down a bit. Even if they don’t — and they haven’t, especially during this harrowing summer — I still love the idea of extra time for summer reading. And since …Read More

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10 Lessons from My First Year as President and CEO

A year ago, I started the job of a lifetime when I became President and CEO of American Jewish World Service (AJWS). AJWS is an American Jewish organization that fights poverty and advances human rights in some of the poorest countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Over the past year or so, …Read More

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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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In the age of Trump, our work is more important than ever

My world is abuzz. I know yours is, too. Like millions of other Americans, I have been in a non-stop conversation since November 8 about what the new U.S. administration and Congress will mean for the America we yearn for—one that is inclusive at home and stands tall for justice and human rights worldwide. These …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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