The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, celebrating its 100th anniversary, held its opening dinner tonight at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee kicked off its 100th anniversary celebrations today in Washington, D.C. The program includes remarks from Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew as well as a Capitol Hill reception and a Centennial dinner event hosted by CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer. The conference will highlight the group’s century of life-saving care and Jewish community building overseas as well as the challenges and opportunities for JDC’s work in the decades ahead.
Speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) are the Honorary Co-Chairs of the Congressional Host Committee for JDC’s 100th anniversary celebration. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) will provide remarks at the Capitol Hill Reception. Other attendees include members of Congress, administration officials, foreign dignitaries, Jewish leaders from North America and abroad, NGO partners, and hundreds of others. It will be followed by a year of centennial events including celebrations in Jerusalem, Paris, and an exhibit at the New-York Historical Society.
“We are honored to be leading JDC during this upcoming centennial year and to celebrate this milestone with Vice President Biden, Secretary Kerry, and Secretary Lew, among so many other distinguished guests. Even as we recall JDC’s historic contribution to the Jewish people and to countless others over the last century, we are inspired and energized for what lies ahead in the next 100 years,” said JDC President Penny Blumenstein and CEO Alan H. Gill. “Every day we put into action the timeless ideal that all Jews are responsible for one another. During our time in Washington, we will explore how today that mission continues to inspire new paths to Jewish identity, lifts the most vulnerable out of despair, and allows us to connect new generations of Jews eager to save lives and strengthen their communities.”
Active today in more than 70 countries, JDC provides a broad range of programs that are alleviating poverty among the neediest Jews in the former Soviet Union and economically strapped Jewish communities in Europe. The group also fosters innovative Jewish community programming and paths to self-expression from Argentina to Poland. In addition, JDC creates and scales pioneering, strategic solutions to Israel’s social challenges by working with its government to help the country’s most vulnerable citizens integrate, work, and succeed.
Additionally, JDC provides a Jewish response to disasters, wars, and humanitarian crises in places like Philippines, Haiti, Japan, and Ethiopia. As part of these efforts, JDC has established major humanitarian partnerships with a broad range of governments and NGOs, including the U.S. Department of State and USAID, the Government of Israel, IRC, Catholic Relief Services, UNICEF, ProDev, Susan G. Komen, and the Clinton/Bush Tsunami Fund. The D.C. gathering will include speakers and sessions on the special role of JDC in addressing the broader challenges of international relief.
Along with the Board and a range of special invitees, the event will also feature participants from JDC Entwine, JDC’s movement of young Jewish leaders, influencers, and advocates. Entwine sends more than 500 young Jews a year overseas to contribute 100,000+ hours of service to both Jewish communities and others in need. Through nine Learning Networks across America and the UK run by Entwine service alumni, Entwine fosters meaningful, peer-to-peer learning, combined with socializing and networking, to educate young Jews about issues from Jewish Cuba to social innovation in Israel.
JDC’s centennial events are steered by an esteemed ad-hoc committee chaired by Andrew Tisch and leading members Nancy Grosfeld, Sam Pollack, Jerry Spitzer, Patricia Werthan Uhlmann, Caryn Wolf Wechsler, and Jane Weitzman.
“For a century, JDC has been and continues to be a pillar of continuity and assure quality Jewish life around the world,” said Tisch. “I’m incredibly proud to be a small part of its story and to lead the efforts to recognize and celebrate JDC’s historic milestone.”