This year’s John Paul II Lecture on Interfaith Understanding, which took place on June 20 at the Jewish Theological Seminary, was distinctly different from previous events, which have featured talks by leaders such as Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee and Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan. This year’s event, co-sponsored by the John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, took a musical turn — with clergy, vocalists and musicians from the Jewish, Muslim and Christian traditions presenting “Songs for the Holy City: An Interfaith Evening of Music and Prayer.”
New Jersey's most inspiring unsung heroes were recognized for their outstanding work on behalf of others when they were named as recipients of the 2018 Russ Berrie Making a Difference Awards. The top prize, of $50,000, went to Pino Rodriguez of Camden, who has worked with residents to transform some of the city’s most blighted neighborhoods by planting flowers, cleaning up debris and, in the process, reducing crime. The 22nd annual awards, accompanied by cash prizes ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, were announced at a ceremony at Ramapo College on May 4.
A highlight of the recent Jewish Funders Network conference was a two-day immersion in Jerusalem to understand the challenges of, and opportunities to transform, a multicultural city that is central to the aspirations of multiple faiths. To read Russell Berrie Foundation CEO Ruth Salzman's reflections on the conference, and announcement of the first major initiative under our Jerusalem strategy (our grant will support a totally new approach for bringing Haredi women and Arabs into the high tech workforce), please click here.
In about three years, a gleaming glass-walled $100 million home for Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design — Israel’s oldest institution of higher education, founded in 1906 — is scheduled to open in Jerusalem’s city center. It is to be accented with Jerusalem stone and topped by a garden rooftop offering a panoramic view of the capital.
As we usher in the new year, I’d like to share with you some highlights from 2017, a year of tremendous growth at The Russell Berrie Foundation. Please click here to learn how we have strengthened our team, committed to two new strategies for our work in Israel and expanded our grant-making, awarding almost 200 grants and supporting groundbreaking institutions and visionary leaders who are making a difference in the lives of others.
Celebrate a local New Jersey hero by nominating them by February 16 for the Russ Berrie Making a Difference Award. Every year, the Russell Berrie Foundation honors "unsung" New Jersey heroes who have made an uncommon contribution to the common good. Up to 11 extraordinary people can receive this award, with the top three awards at $50,000, $35,000 and $25,000. Honor your hero today!
Dr. Rudolph L. Leibel, co-director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical Center, has joined with other leading members of the Endocrine Society to call for more research aimed at understanding the underlying mechanisms that make it difficult to maintain long-term weight loss. The scientific statement, published online in the Endocrine Society's journal, Endocrine Reviews, will appear in the journal's August issue.
David Rosenblatt, an entrepreneur who co-founded Israel's leading solar energy developer, Arava Power Company, has joined the Russell Berrie Foundation's Board of Trustees. Rosenblatt, who has experience working with companies at all stages of development and across a range of industries, has held numerous leadership positions in the N.J. Jewish community. He is a 2008 graduate of the Berrie Fellows Leadership Program.
A dozen of New Jersey's most inspiring unsung heroes were recognized for their compassion and concern for others when they were named as recipients of the 2017 Russ Berrie Making a Difference Awards. The 21st annual awards, accompanied by cash prizes ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, were announced at a ceremony at Ramapo College on May 5.