American Jewish Congress Celebrates 100 Years and Honors Congressman Joe Kennedy III

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 5:30pm

American Jewish Congress celebrates 100 years of supporting the Jewish Community in the United States and honors Congressman Joe Kennedy III with Stephen S. Wise Award for Advancing Human Freedom.

The evening was attended by top political and diplomatic players, including New York’s Attorney General Elect, Letitia James, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Congressman Jerry Nadler, former Congressman Charles Rangel, Permanent Representatives from the Missions of Mexico, Argentina, Slovakia, Mali, Kosovo, and Italy to the UN, and several Consuls General.

New York, NY (November 28, 2018) – On Monday evening, the American Jewish Congress honored Congressman Joe Kennedy at its centennial celebration at a venue in midtown New York. The event was attended by remarkable New York guests, including New York City’s Attorney General Elect Letitia James; Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Congressman Jerry Nadler Permanent Representatives of the Missions of Mexico, Argentina, Slovakia, Mali, Kosovo, Italy, and other nations to the United Nations; U.S. Members of Congress; Consuls General of China and Israel; businesspeople; Jewish community leaders; and many others. The event’s Honorary Chair was Len Blavatnik, along with Co-Chair Marvin Rosen.

Looking back on 100 years of activism and community leadership is no small task. Eliyahu Stern, Professor of Modern Jewish Intellectual and Cultural History at Yale University, guided the attendees through the remarkable history of this organization, and the achievements of its past leaders which set the standard for their present and future work. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer then addressed the attendees by video, congratulating the AJCongress for this historic milestone.

American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen delivered meaningful remarks on the crises facing the Jewish community and others today, and the urgency of continuing the work AJCongress’ founders began a century ago. Rosen said during his speech: “It is from a deep sense of personal responsibility that I am part of the American Jewish Congress, because sadly this organization is needed today more than ever. After the Holocaust, Jews everywhere committed to the mantra ‘Never Again.’ Yet today, here in the United States of America, we hear again hate on the march. In Charlottesville. In Pittsburgh. We will not remain silent as this threat festers and grows.”

As the evening progressed, young Alex Rosen, Mr. Rosen’s grandson, recognized his grandfather for his own contributions to the organization’s enduring legacy – and reminded the audience that the future of our work rests with our children. “The real question for the American Jewish Congress today is how to help the Jewish people and all people of peace win the future,” Alex said during his speech. “The answers come in the two life lessons that my grandfather always teaches us: work hard and be curious.”

At the conclusion of the night, Mr. Rosen presented Congressman Kennedy with the Stephen S. Wise Award. Named for visionary founder Rabbi Wise, this award has recognized a number of remarkable American and Israeli leaders in the last century – including the Congressman’s grandfather, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, and others.

Upon accepting the award, Rep. Kennedy gave an impassioned speech about the impact made by the American Jewish Congress on U.S. history., and the roles played by the Kennedy family as well as the Congress in protecting American values over the years.

In his speech, Rep. Kennedy spoke about the important role of the Jewish people in American history and the contributions they have made. He spoke out against the resurgence of anti-Semitism, and emphasized the importance of unity and community across religious, ethnic, and racial lines. He also stated his support for the State of Israel and described his admiration the qualities that have allowed Israel to succeed and thrive. “The American Jewish Congress is greatly blessed to have him as a friend and partner as they enter our second century,” Jack Rosen remarked at the end of the evening.