Rabbi Heschel’s teachings are all about how to live a moral life in reality, and that the essence of being Jewish is about how you act in the world. For more than a decade we have been honoring leaders in our community who embody Rabbi Heschel’s values, leaders who are role models for all of us.
Nobody makes change in this world alone. We’re celebrating this group of honorees because we know that what’s needed to make change is the totality of their different pieces of work: elected leaders who are champions for justice, partners who can build coalitions and bring deep policy expertise to advance change, funders who support what’s most needed and trust us to use resources wisely, and institutions that build community and develop leaders and activists.
Meet the Honorees
Attorney General Karl A. Racine
Attorney General Racine uses every lever of power available to him to protect workers whose rights are being violated, ensure that corporations don’t abuse our city’s rules and laws, fight for tenants against slumlords and unaffordable housing costs, and transform the criminal justice system in the city of Washington, DC. Attorney General Racine is a trusted voice who is bringing attention to social change work.
Toni Holness is an incredible advocate, activist, leader, and coalition builder. For years, she was one of the linchpins of criminal justice reform and police accountability work at the state level as the Public Policy Director of the Maryland ACLU. She combines deep personal expertise as a lawyer with incredible partnership-building skills and political acumen to bring together broad coalitions of advocates and find legislators who will advance the best legislative change we can achieve. And she does all of that with incredible personal integrity and grace.
The England Family Foundation
The England Family Foundation has, for decades, been investing in the most important social change work in the region. All of their giving is proudly Jewish giving — some of it is to support the Jewish community, some to support Jews to be part of the movement for social change, and some to support the broader community as a central expression of their own Jewish identity. They have been a committed and trusted partner of dozens of organizations, investing in their work over the time that is required to make real and lasting change— not months, but years.
Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation
Adat Shalom, with a commitment to social change at its core, has been a magnet for activists and changemakers. Adat Shalom’s clergy and volunteer leaders affirm values of justice and sustainability (tzedek), loving-kindness (hesed), and responsibility (achrayut), in every service, program, and communal conversation. Hundreds of Adat Shalomers are deeply involved not just in direct service, but in advocating for necessary structural change — many through JUFJ.