Last night, Rabbi David Saperstein was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as ambassador at large for international religious freedom. The Jewish Federations of North America congratulates Rabbi Saperstein on becoming the first non-Christian leader to hold the position, created by President Bill Clinton in 1998. Nominated this past July by President Barack Obama, Rabbi Saperstein will head the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom, where he will work to monitor religious freedom abuses around the world. Rabbi Saperstein is leaving the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, an organization he has led for 30 years.
Upon accepting the Ambassador for Humanity award from the USC Shoah Foundation, President Barack Obama stressed Wednesday the importance of providing care and assistance for Holocaust survivors living in need. The Jewish Federations of North America, which has led the effort to implement such programs, applauded the President’s speech and reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to raising funds in support of survivors.
The Jewish Federations applauded the White House appointment of Aviva Sufian as the Department of Health and Human Services’ Special Envoy for U.S. Holocaust Survivor Services, while also unveiling a new national Federation effort to boost community programs for Holocaust survivors, led by veteran Federation philanthropist Mark Wilf of New Jersey.
The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) welcomed Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC) Centennial luncheon to launch an initiative together with the Jewish community to address the needs of Holocaust survivors living in poverty in the United States. This announcement follows years of conversations between the White House, Members of Congress, and Jewish Federations and Jewish Family and Children’s Service agencies to address the social service needs of Holocaust survivors through fundraising and legislative efforts such as the RUSH Act.