Global Voices The Blog of American Jewish World Service

The AJWS community has a lot to say about what's happening in the world. Read our insights about the struggle for justice and human rights around the globe.

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.”

Read the Post

Elie Wiesel and Monte Dube (Photo by David Shankbone)

Reflections on the Legacy and Teachings of the Late Elie Wiesel

“Anyone who listens to a witness becomes one.”

More than a week after the passing of Elie Wiesel, I, a proud son of a Holocaust survivor, remain deeply saddened by his death.

I met Elie Wiesel 40 years ago when he began a four-decade teaching career at Boston University, where I was entering my senior year.

Read More

AJWS founders Larry Phillips (center) and Laurence Simon (right) celebrate AJWS’s founding in 1985 with author Elie Wiesel, a founding board member.

AJWS founder Laurence Simon Remembers Elie Wiesel

I was becoming discouraged in 1984 talking with leaders of American Jewish organizations about my dream to found an American Jewish organization that would make a professional and visibly Jewish contribution to the end of poverty in developing nations. They were not unsympathetic, but “we have other problems” was the phrase I heard over and over. Congregational and Hillel rabbis were more supportive and eventually encouraged me to talk with Elie Wiesel—“He will understand.”

Read More

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.

Read More


Mazel Tov to our new President and CEO, Robert Bank!

We are wishing a special Mazel Tov to Robert Bank, who officially assumed the role of AJWS President and CEO today! Robert, who was AJWS’s Executive Vice President for seven-and-a-half years, is a skilled leader with a proven record of managing successful local, national and international organizations, bringing passion and dedication to public service and the pursuit of justice. Robert succeeds Ruth Messinger after her remarkable 18-year presidency of AJWS.

Read More

AJWS staff and supporters joined thousands to march in the New York City Pride Parade on June 26, 2016.

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.

Read More