Our Jewish New Year’s Resolution

We we enter into the Jewish New Year, we have so much to fight for—solving the climate crisis, ending bigotry and persecution, and so much more. We also have many reasons to be hopeful and to celebrate all the progress we made in the last year. Below, you’ll find stories from around the world highlighting the AJWS community’s work to build a better world.

L’Shanah Tovah u’Metukah—Wishing you a good and sweet New Year!

Photo courtesy of deCOALonize

A win for the climate and local communities in Kenya

In a huge victory for local communities and the global fight against climate change, a national court halted the construction of a mega coal plant on Kenya’s coast. Two AJWS grantees were instrumental in researching the plant’s harmful effects, protesting the coal industry, and successfully litigating the case that has stopped the construction.


600 rabbis call for action on the Rohingya genocide

Photo by Justin Jacobs

It’s been two years since more than 700,000 Rohingya people were forced to flee a brutal genocide in Burma. As Jews, we have refused to remain silent. Last month, AJWS spearheaded a letter from nearly 600 Jewish clergy from across the United States to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, calling for decisive action from our government. Learn more about AJWS’s response and watch the powerful delivery of the letter from Rabbis Aderet Drucker, Jonah Pesner and Mike Knopf.


Photo by Christine Han

Fighting for indigenous land rights in Guatemala

In the highlands of Guatemala, indigenous people have been forcefully evicted from their farms with nowhere to go. But now, 81 of these families have something that gives them hope: titles to land of their own. Read how Comité Campesino del Altiplano (CCDA), a grassroots organization that we support in Guatemala, is working with indigenous farmers so they can lay down permanent roots for the future. And check out the Al Jazeera article in the next section to learn more about threats to CCDA activists.

What We're Reading

We refuse to be silent on the Rohingya genocide

In this Newsday essay, AJWS Burma expert Jeff Stein reflects on meeting Yasmin, a woman who fled persecution in Burma. He recounts the parallels between her experience and that of his own family as they escaped Nazi Germany and calls on Congress and each of us to take decisive action to stop the Rohingya genocide.


Speaking out against the discriminatory "Unalienable Rights Commission"

Dena Kimball, Executive Director of the Kendeda Fund and one of AJWS’s leading supporters, calls on nonprofits and philanthropies around the world to help stop child marriage by fighting its root cause: gender inequality.

Chronicle of Philanthropy

Restoring America's Global Human Rights Leadership

This New York Times article mentions AJWS’s opposition to Secretary of State Pompeo’s controversial “Commission on Unalienable Rights,” a new body that threatens to undermine critical human rights protections around the world.

New York Times

An alarming rise in killings of environmental activists in Guatemala

Standing up for the environment is a dangerous job, with over 100 activists murdered and many more threatened each year around the world. One of the world’s deadliest places for this work is Guatemala, where several AJWS grantees are documenting the frequent attacks and protecting activists from harm. Two AJWS grantees are featured prominently in this Al Jazeera article about the rising crisis.

Al Jazeera

AJWS grantee honored by the United Nations

Bianka Rodríguez, Executive Director of AJWS grantee Comcavis Trans, was named regional winner for the Americas for the prestigious UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award, recognizing her courageous advocacy for El Salvador’s trans community and her support for forcibly displaced people.

The UN Refugee Agency

The Rohingya activist uniting Burma’s ethnic groups against persecution

Yasmin Ullah, a leading voice for Rohingya rights and an AJWS ally, penned this powerful op-ed calling on the U.S. to take steps that would put an end to the Rohingya genocide and restore equality, dignity and respect for persecuted ethnic minorities in Burma.

The Washington Post