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Jewish Community Relations Council Honors Those in Social-Justice Work

December 2, 2010
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The JCRC Leadership Assembly was a time to celebrate those who work to advance social justice, human rights and peace. (From left) are Adam Kessler, JCRC director; Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Rev. Wallace Smith, president, Palmer Theological Seminary; Rabbi David Straus, newly appointed chair of the JCRC; Murray Shusterman, past president of the JCRC; Marc Zucker, immediate past chair of the JCRC; and Ira M. Schwartz, Federation CEO.

Rabbi David Saperstein, director and chief legal counsel at the Union for Reform Judaism's Religious Action Council for more than 30 years, was honored recently by Federation's Jewish Community Relations Council with the Council's coveted Jules Cohen Memorial Award.

Saperstein, who was named by Newsweek magazine in 2009 as the most influential rabbi in the United States, received the award during the organization's 2011 Leadership Assembly on Nov. 10 at Main Line Reform Temple, Beth Elohim in Wynnewood.

Previous recipients of this award, created in 1970 in honor of a former JCRC executive director who was acclaimed as a pioneer in the field of intergroup relations, include such social-justice and human-rights activists as Justice William O. Douglas, Coretta Scott King, Natan Sharansky and Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat.

The Leadership Assembly was created to honor volunteers and recognize the achievements of the JCRC. Accolades were awarded to Marc J. Zucker, who has served as JCRC chair since 2007. Zucker will be succeeded by Rabbi David Straus of Main Line Reform Temple.

During the assembly, many guests donated to the Burt Siegel Fund for Interfaith Leadership Missions to Israel, created in 2008. Siegel served as longtime JCRC executive director. 

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