NEW YORK, March 28, 2007 – American Jewish World Service, one of the fastest growing Jewish organizations in the United States, is pleased to announce the appointment of Rabbi Lee T. Bycel as Executive Director of the AJWS Western Region. This is a newly created position and reflects the growth of AJWS on the West Coast.
An international development organization motivated by Judaism’s imperative to pursue justice, AJWS is dedicated to alleviating poverty, hunger and disease among the people of the developing world regardless of race, religion or nationality.
“Rabbi Bycel brings his knowledge of Judaism, his substantial experience with international development, and his personal devotion to social justice to AJWS. His unusual combination of skills and life experiences will provide the leadership and energy needed to expand the size and scope of AJWS on the West Coast,” said Ruth Messinger, President of AJWS.
Rabbi Bycel has extensive background in humanitarian work, not-for-profit leadership, education and community activism. His strong commitment to social justice and Judaism are exemplified in the positions he has held throughout his professional career.
Most recently, Bycel was the Senior Advisor for global strategy at the International Medical Corps, a global humanitarian organization. His work brought him to many parts of the developing world, including Sudan, Ethiopia, Chad, Rwanda and Kenya, giving him insights to the needs and solutions of many of the world’s greatest humanitarian challenges.
Included among Rabbi Bycel’s many accomplishments are serving as: Dean and Director of the Rabbinic School at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles; President of the Brandeis-Bardin Institute in Brandeis, California; a member of the California Task Force on the Holocaust, Genocide, Human Rights and Tolerance Education; and Senior Moderator at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C..
Rabbi Bycel’s mentors, Martin Luther King and Abraham Joshua Heschel, are the inspiration for his commitment to social justice and his belief in the necessity for individuals to take action. During Yom Kippur for the past three years, Rabbi Bycel has gone to a refugee camp in Chad as a statement that, in his own words, “the world will not forget the people of Darfur.”
“We can make change in the world by mobilizing all the resources of our community to address the challenging issues of living in a global world. AJWS is the antidote to indifference and is all about working together. Becoming the Executive Director of AJWS’ Western office is an honor and the perfect match for me,” said Rabbi Bycel.
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