New York, NY August 31, 2020 – WRJ awarded its Dr. Jane Evans “Pursuit of Justice” Award to HIAS in recognition of its long-standing support of refugees and immigrants. This award honors the legacy of WRJ’s first executive director, Jane Evans, who served the Reform Movement for more than 70 years. Evans was deeply and Jewishly committed to human rights, women’s rights, civil rights, interfaith relations, and countless other manifestations of justice.
Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, Executive Director of Women of Reform Judaism, shared “WRJ is proud to honor HIAS for its tireless work on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable people. For generations, HIAS has defended the rights of refugees and immigrants, including many in our own community. We are inspired by their heroic efforts; HIAS represents the best of Jewish values and our commitment to the pursuit of justice.”
Susan C. Bass, WRJ President, said “A hardworking WRJ committee was thoughtful in its choice of HIAS as this year’s recipient. This is the first time WRJ has honored an organization rather than an individual. In doing so, we recognize that in these unprecedented times, the work of HIAS is more important than ever. The stories of their clients are powerful and showcase just how crucial their work remains today.”
Mark Hetfield, President and CEO of HIAS shared “All of us at HIAS are so honored to be the first organization to ever receive the Dr. Jane Evans Award for the Pursuit of Justice from the WRJ which, like HIAS, has always taken its Jewish beliefs and made them into deeds, deeds that benefit not just the Jewish people, but all of humanity. And no belief or deed is more Jewish than welcoming the stranger and protecting the refugee.”
Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), founded in 1913, is the women’s affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism, the central body of Reform Judaism in North America. WRJ represents tens of thousands of women in hundreds of women’s groups, strengthening the voice of women worldwide and empowering them to create caring communities, nurture congregations, cultivate personal and spiritual growth, and advocate for and promote progressive Jewish values.