JDC Celebrates Centennial in Washington DC
December 12, 2013
Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew were among the luminaries who headlined at JDC’s centennial celebration in Washington, D.C. December 9-11, 2013.
The conference, attended by JDC’s Board of Directors, members of Congress, administration officials, foreign dignitaries, Jewish leaders from North America and abroad, NGO partners, and hundreds of others, highlighted JDC’s 100 years of life-saving care and Jewish community building overseas as well as the challenges and opportunities for our work in the decades ahead.
“Everything that is right about America and righteous about the Jewish people is brought to the world by what you do.”—Vice President Joe Biden
JDC’s Centennial Dinner
JDC’s Centennial Dinner in Washington was attended by more than 350 people, including Administration officials, Ambassadors, members of Congress, and Jewish leaders representing the vast spectrum of Jewish community life.
CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer emceed the evening, interviewing Dr. Ruth Westheimer, novelist David Bezmozgis, Jewish leader Abe Biderman, and JDC’s Oksana Galkevich from Ukraine about their relationships with JDC. The event also included keynote remarks from U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who was presented with JDC’s Morgenthau Award to commemorate JDC’s 100 years of partnership with the U.S. Government. The award is named after U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Sr., who as American envoy to the Ottoman Empire helped found JDC in 1914. His grandson, Henry Morgenthau III, was in attendance to help present the award.
“The Joint and the decency of the American people gave my family and so many others a second chance. Thank you.” —Wolf Blitzer
Another highlight of the night was the presentation of JDC’s Or L’Olam Award to the Republic of the Philippines for its role, together with JDC and the Frieder family, in saving more than 1,300 Jews from Nazi persecution and almost certain death. The award was accepted by Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, the Philippine envoy to the U.S., who thanked JDC, the Jewish community, and Israel for its current efforts in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
“The friendship between our two peoples is a story of tikkun olam, of making the world a better place. It is as the world should be.”—Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia
JDC’s Congressional Reception
JDC’s Congressional Reception on Capitol Hill was attended by more than 150 guests, including JDC’s Board of Directors and a dozen Senators and Representatives.
JDC’s Government Affairs Committee Chair Irene Kaplan emceed the event. Highlights of the night included remarks by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) who spoke about the power and shared passion for tikkun olam and JDC’s ongoing work, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) presented S.Res.299, a U.S Senate Resolution, with a bipartisan list of 25 co-sponsors, commemorating JDC’s 100 Anniversary and century of life-saving service.
“JDC does G-d’s work. Mazel tov!”—Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer
“Wherever there are people in need, you go. You don’t go there to help people who are Jewish. You go there to help people because you are Jewish.”—House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi
Opening Dinner with Secretary of State John Kerry
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, a longtime friend of JDC, was the keynote speaker at the opening evening of JDC’s centennial celebration in D.C.
He highlighted the enduring bonds between the State Department and JDC, reaffirmed America’s commitment to Israel’s security, and thanked JDC for 100 years of alleviating hardship and improving the world beyond U.S. shores.
Stories on JDC’s 100th appeared in the world’s three largest news wire services: AP, Reuters, and Agence France Presse, as well as in Bloomberg and Yahoo News; TV coverage of Administration officials’ remarks to JDC appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, ABC, and CBS affiliates nationwide, as well as Israel’s Channel 2: and photos from the three days’ events were in global outlets like BBC and AOL. In addition, major stories on the overall events and Vice President Biden’s announcement on Holocaust survivors and restitution issues ran in JNS, JTA, Hamodia, and the New York Jewish Week. Additionally, JDC’s honoring of the Republic of the Philippines for its life-saving role in the Second World War was covered by JNS and Mishpacha.