Joe Zuritsky, chairman and CEO of Parkway Corp., will be honored with the American Jewish Committee Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey’s Human Relations Award at the organization’s annual meeting on June 23.
Zuritsky, a longtime AJC board member and a key supporter, was an obvious candidate to be this year’s recipient, according to Marcia Bronstein, regional director of AJC Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey.
The Human Relations Award “is for a person who’s near and dear to AJC, like a family member,” Bronstein said. “That really does mean Joe, to a T.”
“I am honored, very much honored,” Zuritsky said. “It’s part of supporting an organization that I hold in high value.”
Zuritsky, a patron of many local, national and Israeli organizations, said he is flattered he was selected for the award, though he admits that, having been honored in a similar fashion so many times over the years, he looks forward to when he won’t impose on friends for their support.
“Hopefully, this is the last honor I’ll get,” he laughed.
Per the AJC, Zuritsky “has been a stalwart member of AJC’s Board and Executive Committee for many years. He is a passionate advocate for AJC’s mission of protecting Jewish lives and communities, ensuring a safe and secure Israel, and advocating for democratic values and human rights for all. Joe has long been a supporter of interfaith and intergroup dialogue, and a lifelong learner.”
The 2021 annual meeting, AJC’s 77th, will feature a keynote address from Drexel University President John A. Fry in the virtual ceremony where Zuritsky will receive his award.
Bronstein was not yet AJC’s regional director when she met Zuritsky for the first time. Working in development and engagement, her first contact with Zuritsky was on a cold call; she “wanted to tell him a little bit about who we are and what we do, because he didn’t know.” Zuritsky agreed to a meeting, and it was a fruitful one.
The AJC “captured his imagination,” Bronstein said, by dint of its impact on local and national politics. Zuritsky, with his interest in intergroup relations and ensuring the future success of Jewish and Zionist organizations, found a home at AJC.
“He’s a role model, a mentor and innovator, someone not afraid to tackle issues,” Bronstein said. “And Joe embodies what AJC stands for. He is a centrist. He will work with everybody on both sides of the aisle.”
Zuritsky, for his part, sees the AJC as a bastion of well-trained, intelligent representatives of the Jewish people, bringing a “diplomatic approach” to sensitive, important issues for Jews around the world.
“That’s something that the Jewish people really need: really highly qualified spokesmen to speak around the world on Jewish and Israeli issues. And that’s what the AJC does,” Zuritsky said.
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