Elliot Abrams, Former U.S Deputy National Security Advisor in Keynote to B'nai B'rith World Center Journalism Award Ceremony in Jerusalem
Elliot Abrams, former U.S Deputy National Security Advisor and Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at Council on Foreign Relations in Washington D.C. delivered the keynote address at B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage on: “Israel and American Jews: A Portrait at 70.”
Speaking at a packed hall, Abrams said: “Your first obligation to world Jewry is to survive and to thrive. But then what? Beyond security issues, to ask the question again: What does it mean to be the center of world Jewish life? What are your goals and what are your responsibilities toward those smaller communities — some of them of course physically safe, as in Canada or Australia or the U.S., and others, from Sweden to France to Argentina, for example, far less safe? You exist as a haven with a law of return. But that is the beginning and not the end, surely, of Israel’s role in the lives of Jewish communities around the world.”
Yair Sherki, Religious Affairs reporter for Israel News Company and winner of the award for broadcast media said in his acceptance speech: “Orthodoxy in America — which constitutes seven to 10 percent of U.S. Jewry — has been ignored in the conversation taking place in Israel on Israel-Diaspora relations. This is the group that is growing at the greatest rate among American Jews and the only group that enjoys positive growth and therefore its importance will grow over time…The encounter with such a different type of Jewish lifestyle intensified the experience for me and even strengthened my own religious identity; this is true for my encounters with the Haredim and regarding encounters with other Jewish streams in the United States, and I hope that this impression was conveyed to my viewers.”
Amotz Asa-El, senior editor for the Jerusalem Report and winner for print media said: “The new [Jewish] dispersion — that which will dwarf in the shadow of the growing Israel center — will demand an innovative approach by the State of Israel. Israel will have to nurture this new dispersion, not only as a strategic source but also as an engine for co-existence between the Jewish People and all of humanity; co-existence that will prove to Israelis that 'A people who dwells alone' is not a predestination and definitely not an ideal.”
A Certificate of Merit in memory of Luis and Trudi Schydlowsky was conferred on Benny Teitelbaum, Jewish World correspondent at the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation (Kan). He noted that: “Consistent coverage of world Jewry raises questions about the unity of the Jewish people, what our connection to them is all about, what does it mean to be Jewish, why are they important — all kind of questions that the secular Tel Aviv press does not like to ask itself.”
Since its establishment in 1992, the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Award for Journalism has recognized excellence in reporting on contemporary Diaspora Jewish communities and on the state of Israel-Diaspora relations in the Israeli print, broadcast and online media. The award is widely recognized as the most prestigious prize in the Israeli media industry for Diaspora reportage and was established to help strengthen the relations between Israel and the Diaspora by encouraging quality reporting on Diaspora communities and Israel-Diaspora relations.
The distinguished members of the award jury are: professor Yehudit Auerbach, School of Communications, Bar Ilan University; professor Sergio DellaPergola, the Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University; Ambassador Sallai Meridor, international chairman, Jerusalem Foundation, former Israeli ambassador to the United States, former chairman of the Zionist Executive and Jewish Agency; professor Gabriela Shalev, Higher Academic Council, Ono Academic College and former Israel ambassador to the U.N.; Yair Sheleg, columnist; and Asher Weill, publisher and editor of ARIEL-The Israel Review of Arts and Letters from 1981-2003.
The B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage is named for the late Wolf Matsdorf and his wife Hilda. Wolf was an editor of the World Center’s journal “Leadership Briefing” and a journalist in Israel and Australia. Hilda was a pioneer in social work in both Australia and Israel. The award is made possible through donations from the Matsdorf family and B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem board member Daniel Schydlowsky.
For further information please contact Alan Schneider, Director, B’nai B’rith World Center, Jerusalem at 972-52-5536441.
Teen Writing Contest Rewards Stories About Tolerance with College Scholarships
An Ocean City High School student won a college scholarship for her creative and insightful book advocating tolerance and diversity.
The winner of this year’s Diverse Minds Writing Challenge in southern New Jersey is “Outside the Box,” written and illustrated by Marley Goudie from Ocean City High School in Ocean City, New Jersey. In the Diverse Minds contest, high school students write and illustrate children’s books to help elementary school children celebrate and appreciate tolerance and diversity. Goudie was announced as the winner at an award ceremony at Atlantic City Electric’s regional headquarters on June 5.
This education and awareness initiative was created as part of B’nai B’rith programming that promotes tolerance and communicates a message of equality among all citizens. Funded by Atlantic City Electric, the contest aims to enlighten, inspire and educate America's young people and their families in an effort to eradicate prejudices and strengthen ties among today’s youth.
Goudie is compelled to advocate that youth’s interests not be imposed by traditional gender roles. She believes that whether it is with doll houses or Legos, children should be able to decide for themselves what they think is fun. Goudie believes children should be accepted no matter what choice they make in their toy options.
“Along with a diverse environment comes the need for tolerance and inclusion, and these ideas are oftentimes harder to embrace. So our efforts in recent years have been to underscore the importance of these pivotal concepts — particularly around bullying, diverse families and religious tolerance,” B’nai B’rith International Associate Executive Vice President Mark D. Olshan said at the event.
Susan Coan, Atlantic City Electric region vice president, discussed the significance of the program.
“We are a proud supporter of this initiative that promotes tolerance and diversity, and reinforces our commitment to an inclusive and diverse workforce,” Coan said. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with B’nai B’rith on this program that teaches young people the value and importance in celebrating equality.”
By placing first, Goudie won a $5,000 college scholarship and her book has been professionally published. It will be distributed to local schools, libraries and community organizations, as well as to the annual TODAY Show Holiday Toy and Gift Drive. Her book will also be accessible in an e-book format and will be available on iTunes and Amazon as a free download.
Second place winner Morgan J. Kersey from Woodbury Junior-Senior High School in Woodbury, New Jersey wrote and illustrated “Little Moments” and will receive a $2,000 scholarship. Third place winner Vincent Grossman from Lower Cape May Regional wrote and illustrated “Heath and His Monsters” and won a $1,000 scholarship. In addition, the teacher who advised Goudie, Paul Matusz, received a $1,000 grant to use for classroom or organizational materials. Ocean City High School received a $500 grant.
Since the contest began in the 2006-2007 school year, B’nai B’rith has published 41 original children’s books, awarded more than $330,000 in college scholarships and grants and donated more than 45,000 books to public schools, libraries and community organizations across the country.
A diverse panel of judges from the worlds of education, the arts, business and government, along with B’nai B’rith International leaders, reviewed the submissions and selected the winners. Judges this year included Olshan; Coan; Eric Scheffler, sheriff of Atlantic County; Albert B. Kelly, mayor of the city of Bridgeton; and Joann Gattinelli, mayor of Washington Township, New Jersey.
Delmarva Power and Pepco also held contests this week for students in the Delmarva Peninsula and in Washington D.C. This is the fifth year Delmarva power, and sixth year Pepco has participated in the Diverse Minds Writing Challenge.
Colorado Native Gary P. Saltzman, International President of B'nai B'rith, to Receive Award in Denver
Colorado native Gary P. Saltzman, president of B’nai B’rith International, will be honored by the international human rights organization and B’nai B’rith of the Rockies on Wednesday, June 6, at a dinner at the Wellshire Event Center. Bill Berger, president of B’nai B’rith of the Rockies, announced that Saltzman will be presented with the prestigious B’nai B’rith Distinguished Leadership Award. The event also will celebrate the 175th anniversary of B’nai B’rith International.
Saltzman has served since November 2015 as president of B’nai B’rith International and will be ending his term this fall. His responsibilities include meeting with global leaders on such vital issues as the security of Israel and global human rights. Last summer, he led a delegation to the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Azerbaijan, meeting with the prime ministers and other leaders of both countries, where he raised the issue of incessant threats by Iran to the stability of the region, among other topics.
B’nai B’rith of the Rockies was founded in 1872 as B’nai B’rith Lodge #171 making it one of the oldest continuing chapters in the international organization. Its early contributions in the local area include leadership in the founding of the National Jewish Hospital and the Denver Jewish Community Center.
Berger said, “It’s remarkable that the Denver chapter began only seven years after the end of the Civil War and four years before Colorado became a state. This chapter has a great history and a high point in our story is having Gary Saltzman become the first Coloradan to be international president.”
Prior to his installation in the highest volunteer position in the organization, Saltzman served B’nai B’rith as chairman of its Executive Board of Directors and served on its International Board of Governors. A former member of Denver’s AZA Chapter Six, Saltzman also has served as president of the local B’nai B’rith chapter, president of the Western Frontier Region, and president of B’nai B’rith District Two. In 1989, he was recognized with the prestigious Label A. Katz Young Leadership Award, which B’nai B’rith International bestows upon individuals under 45 years of age for outstanding service.
Saltzman has supported local B’nai B’rith projects that represent a microcosm of the mission of the international organization. B’nai B’rith of the Rockies awards college scholarships to high school students, supports Holocaust education and disaster relief, sponsors visits to Jewish prisoners at Canon City and advocates for human rights issues at local, national and international levels. One of the chapter’s best-known projects today is the annual Leadville, Colorado Jewish Cemetery clean-up weekend, which is planned for June 22-24 this year.
B’nai B’rith International is also engaged in global disaster relief efforts. Since 1865, the organization has raised and distributed aid to populations impacted by natural and man-made catastrophes around the world.
In addition to its global reach, the organization founded many recognizable institutions in the U.S. Jewish community, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Hillel Houses on college campuses and the BBYO youth organization.
Also on the domestic front, B’nai B’rith is the largest national Jewish sponsor of low-income housing for seniors. Working in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the organization has 38 buildings in 28 communities — more than 4,000 apartment units for some 5,000 people. In 2017 Saltzman participated in the annual B’nai B’rith Conference on Senior Housing.
This year, B’nai B’rith International observes its 175th anniversary. It was launched by a group of men meeting at Sinsheimer’s Café on New York’s lower east side on Oct. 13, 1843 to combat the untenable conditions facing Jews in the United States.
Saltzman is the managing member and co-owner of the CPA firm The Wenner Group, LLC and co-owner of Transitions Wealth Management, LLC. He holds a PFS designation by the AICPA. He is a graduate of Denver’s George Washington High School and the University of Colorado.
Attending the recognition dinner will be Saltzman’s wife of 45 years, Judy, their children Sol and Rebecca and their families.
Watch President Gary P. Saltzman Reflect on His Years of Service to B'nai B'rith International Here:
Photos from the Event:
Charter School Of Wilmington Student Receives Scholarship And Becomes A Published Author In Delmarva Area Diverse Minds Writing Challenge
Teen Writing Contest Rewards Stories About Tolerance and Inclusion
A Charter School of Wilmington student won a college scholarship for her creative and insightful book advocating tolerance and diversity.
The winner of this year’s Diverse Minds Writing Challenge in the Delmarva area is “True Colors,” written by Faith Kim from Charter School of Wilmington in Wilmington, Delaware. Diverse Minds is a contest where high school students write and illustrate children’s books to help elementary school children celebrate and appreciate tolerance and diversity. Kim was announced as the winner at an awards ceremony at the Delmarva Power Conference Center on June 4.
This education and awareness initiative was created as part of B’nai B’rith programming that promotes tolerance and communicates a message of equality among all citizens. Funded by Delmarva Power, the contest aims to enlighten, inspire and educate America's young people and their families in an effort to eradicate prejudices and strengthen ties among today’s youth.
Kim struggled to fit in at several new schools as a child, thus the topic of diversity and intolerance resonates with her deeply and personally. The protagonist in her book experiences many of the things that Kim experienced growing up. Lessons drawn from her book reflect her belief that “it is imperative that we teach the importance of having an open mind to today’s youth.”
“Along with a diverse environment comes the need for tolerance and inclusion, and these ideas are oftentimes harder to embrace. So our efforts in recent years have been to underscore the importance of these pivotal concepts — particularly around bullying, diverse families and religious tolerance,” said Diverse Minds Writing Challenge Program Manager Laura Jeser.
At the ceremony, the finalists and winners were congratulated by Jeser; Gary Stockbridge, region president of Delmarva Power; and Enid Wallace-Simms, senior public affairs manager of Delmarva Power.
Stockbridge talked about the significance of this program.
“At Delmarva Power, we believe that having a diverse team of people — with different backgrounds, experiences, cultures and perspectives — helps us deliver better service for our customers,” Stockbridge said. “We value opportunities to partner with organizations like B’nai B’rith to teach young people across our service area about the importance of diversity and inclusion, which builds on our efforts as a committed community partner to improve the quality of life across the region.”
By placing first, Kim received a $5,000 college scholarship and her book has been professionally published. It will be distributed to local schools, libraries and community organizations, as well as to the annual TODAY Show Holiday Toy and Gift Drive. Her book will also be accessible in an e-book format and will be available on iTunes and Amazon as a free download.
Second place winner Molly McCormick from Worcester Preparatory School in Berlin, Maryland wrote and illustrated “Tide Pools” and received a $2,000 scholarship. Third place winner Emma Edelin from Fallston High School in Fallston, Maryland wrote and illustrated “Our Differences Make Us the Same” and won a $1,000 scholarship. In addition, the teacher who advised Kim, Greg Darone, received a $1,000 grant to use for classroom or organizational materials. Charter School of Wilmington received a $500 grant.
Since the contest began in the 2006-2007 school year, B’nai B’rith has published 41 original children’s books, in two different languages (English and Spanish), awarded more than $330,000 in college scholarships and grants and donated more than 45,000 books to public schools, libraries and community organizations across the country.
A diverse panel of judges from the worlds of education, the arts, business and government, along with B’nai B’rith International leaders, reviewed the submissions and selected the winners. Judges this year included Stockbridge; Annemarie Hamilton, executive director of the Cecil County Arts Council, Inc.; Patti A. Grimes, executive director of the Carl M. Freeman Foundation; Tim Foxx, CEO of Communities in Schools; Renee Morris, executive director of Nanticoke Health Services Foundation; and Orrin White, assistant director of community engagement for United Way Delaware.
Atlantic City Electric and Pepco also held contests this week for students in South Jersey and in Washington D.C. This is the fifth year Atlantic City Electric, and sixth year Pepco has participated in the Diverse Minds Writing Challenge.
B’nai B’rith International President Gary P. Saltzman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International strongly commends the U.S. decision to veto a June 1 U.N. Security Council resolution tabled by Kuwait. We thank Ethiopia, Poland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom for abstaining on this biased, one-sided resolution that blames Israel for defending itself, and absolves Hamas of fomenting violence against Israel.
What the Palestinians actually need is for the global community to finally understand that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are a threat to Israeli and Palestinian lives. The stated objective of Hamas is the destruction of Israel. The resolution should have condemned Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad by name for firing rockets on Israeli civilians. Last week, Kuwait blocked a Security Council statement that would have done so. Regrettably, a U.S.-submitted resolution that condemned Hamas did not pass at the council.
B’nai B’rith supported the effort by the United States at the United Nations to procure a statement from the Security Council that condemns Hamas for firing rockets into Israel.
During the U.N. Security Council meeting on May 30, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said: “It is outrageous for the Security Council to fail to condemn Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli citizens while the Human Rights Council approves sending a team to investigate Israeli actions taken in self-defense. I urge the members of the Security Council to exercise at least as much scrutiny of the actions of the Hamas terrorist group as it does Israel’s legitimate right of self-defense.”
Israel completely and unconditionally withdrew from the Gaza Strip well over a decade ago — only to be subjected to yet more indiscriminate terror from Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Israel has a fundamental right and obligation to defend its civilians and its borders, and it has done so with exceptional care and restraint. Hamas, for its part, has repeatedly been caught lying about Palestinian actions and casualties.