AJWS Los Angeles: What’s Happening

September 2016

Even though we may not see the leaves change here in Southern California, we know fall is a time for transition, with children returning to school and the summer lull of traffic coming to an end. As you may have heard, after eight accomplished years at AJWS, Allison Lee has started a new role as the Vice President of External Affairs at Bet Tzedek. We wish her well, and pledge to continue her legacy here in the AJWS LA office.

The Jewish New Year is on the horizon—another time to reflect on where we’ve been, where we’re going, and our aspirations for the future. We invite you to share your wishes for the world this year in our #18Words social media campaign launching next week. Our own wish is: AJWS Los Angeles motivates and inspires global citizens in LA to invest in the dignity of people everywhere. #18Words

As this charged election season edges closer and closer to its peak, we are reminded of our individual and collective roles in building a more just and tolerant society. During uncertain and violent times across the world, we have all the more reason to act, to stay involved, and to make our voices and the voices of marginalized people heard. With your ongoing support, AJWS continues this critical work.

We have an exciting lineup of opportunities to stay involved, including: an Indian cooking class, an event about women and film, and a study tour to Uganda. We would love to hear from you, and hope that you join to learn, to pursue justice in the world, and to stand up for the enduring values of human dignity and justice.

The AJWS Los Angeles Team:

Emma Nesper Holm
Acting Associate Director

Lila Glick
Development Associate

Women’s Voices On Screen

Join us Thursday, October 27th, at 7:30 p.m. for the Venice Arts and Women’s Voices Now film screening and discussion series Women’s Voices on Screen. A series of short films from Egypt, India, Thailand and Tunisia will chart the paths of women challenging traditional gender norms and advocating for change. One of the short films is AJWS’s own On the Road: Khushi’s Story, which recently won the Audience Choice: Documentary Short Award from Women’s Voices Now. Acting Associate Director for AJWS Southern California Emma Nesper Holm will be moderating the evening’s panel, “The Oppressions of Tradition: Breaking Free.” Learn more and RSVP.

Human Rights Is a Marathon Not a Sprint

Join AJWS Los Angeles for our first-ever marathon team, hitting the pavement on March 19th, 2017! As a member of Team AJWS, you will raise $1,800 to support our work to end poverty and promote human rights. We need you to make our 2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon debut a success—and to show off the incredible spirit of our AJWS Los Angeles community! Spaces are limited, and runners will be admitted on a rolling basis. Please submit your online application by November 15th.

Travel With AJWS To Uganda

AJWS Study Tours are meaningful and unique journeys that give supporters the opportunity to see grassroots change firsthand. Our next trip is to Uganda from February 26th to March 5th, 2017, with an optional extension to Rwanda for gorilla trekking. You will spend time with local activists who are tackling discrimination and violence against women, girls and LGBT people, and defending communities’ access to land, water and natural resources that are being exploited. The Uganda trip will include a tour of Lake Victoria and the opportunity to care for chimpanzees at a special sanctuary. Priority registration ends December 20th, 2016. Preference is given to first-time travelers. If you are interested in traveling with us, please contact Neely Grobani at ngrobani@ajws.org or visit our Uganda Study Tour page.

Rabbinical Fellowship Launch

The 2016-17 AJWS Rabbinical Global Justice Fellowship, launching in October, is a selective program designed to inspire, educate and train rabbis to become advocates in support of U.S. policies that will help improve the lives of people in the developing world. We are excited that the Southern California region is represented by Rabbi Elie Spitz, who has served as the pulpit rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel in Tustin for 28 years. Rabbi Spitz, along with 14 other rabbis from across the country, will participate in this fellowship and travel to Mesoamerica to learn from grassroots activists working to overcome poverty and injustice. Read more about these impressive Rabbinic Fellows.

What We’re Reading

Our Books Beyond Borders fall pick is First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung. In 1975, when Loung was five years old, the Khmer Rouge army stormed into Phnom Penh and forever shattered her world. In this unforgettable account of a family torn apart by violence and brutality, Loung’s courage and strength shine through on every page. Let us know if you are interested in joining or leading a Books Beyond Borders session!

Global Circle Scene

Calling all young professionals! We are excited to announce that our third annual documentary film event, Reel Action/Real Change, will take place November 30th at WME. Save the date and keep an eye out for the formal invitation to follow. Find out more about Global Circle events and the new Investors network.

Your Voice Matters

The Jewish New Year is a time for reflection on our past and present journey, and our aspirations for the future. We are inviting our supporters from all over the world to participate in the #18Words project by sharing their wishes for global justice and a better future in the Jewish New Year in 18 words or less. Beginning next week, share your voice followed by the hashtag #18Words, and view a global interactive map charting the reach of the AJWS community that has contributed. Keep an eye out for the launch of this exciting campaign in your inbox and on our website!

AJWS in the News

Holding the Ugandan Government Accountable for Human Rights Violations
In response to the August 4th brutal police attack on an LGBTI pride gathering in Uganda, AJWS President and CEO Robert Bank published a statement condemning the raid and urging the Ugandan government and police to be held accountable for human rights violations under national and international law.

Empowering Both Girls and Boys to End Child Marriage in India
Read about AJWS grantee Vikalp Sansthan and its critical work to end child marriage in India by teaching boys and men about women’s rights in this New York Times “Women in the World” piece.

A Step Towards Justice for Mexico’s “Open Wounds”
On August 1st, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced its approval of the special follow-up mechanism dedicated to investigating the disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico. AJWS grantee Tlachinollan has worked tirelessly to fight for justice for these missing students and was involved in urging the IACHR to press the state for this continued investigation. Read more.