Saturday, March 31, 2007

Jewish community honored

Jewish Community Honored in Dallas
During the 9th Annual Thanksgiving Celebrations & Awards Night
By the Foundation for Pluralism.

Mike Ghouse

This tribute is extracted from the full report of thanksgiving Celebrations & Awards night at

Hon. Becky Miller, Mayor of the City of Carrollton Pays tribute to the contributions of Jewish Community.

Leon Levin: A long time member of Temple Shalom, Leon was on the board of Trustees for four years and is a former Brotherhood chair. He has served on almost every committee at Temple Shalom in Dallas including being the Chair of their Caring Congregation. He continues to welcome and teach the various Church groups who come to visit Temple Shalom’s Friday evening service. He is on Board of Trustees of Chai House, a series of homes for Jewish adults with mental challenges. Jerry is a proud father of a daughter who is a rabbi in Florida and a former Navy Petty Officer who led services aboard the USS Perry.

Mike's tribute to the Jewish community

Jews have been an integral part of the American experience since the very beginning of our country. They didn’t arrive with the Puritans in 1620 -- Jews had already been here for 130 years. Five Jews accompanied Columbus on his first voyage in 1492 in a time and from a place of extreme religious persecution. Indeed those Jews were all forced to convert to Christianity before they could depart.

On July 1, 1776 Francis Salvador had the dubious honor of being the first American Jew to give his life for his adopted country as the American Revolution laid the groundwork for this nation of liberty and equality to take root and grow. Ever since then, no group has ever appreciated more this country’s welcome; has more appreciated and subscribed to the welcome of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”; and no group has worked harder to help our country live up to the words of the first phrase of the Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Indeed, James Madison, the father of the United States Constitution, once observed that "the [religious] devotion of the people has been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the state." Americans are still among the most religious people in the world. Yet the government plays almost no role in promoting, endorsing or funding religious institutions or religious beliefs. Free from government control -- and without government assistance -- religious values, literature, traditions and holidays permeate the lives of our citizens and, in their diverse ways, form an integral part of our national culture. By maintaining the wall separating church and state, we can guarantee the continued vitality of religion in American life.

Discrimination and intolerance are scourges that continue to arise in societies, especially in times of economic stress. Minorities, whether religious or ethnic or cultural, become scapegoats for the ills of society. In 1913 the Anti-Defamation League was formed in response to rampant discrimination against Jews. Its ultimate purpose is to secure justice and fair treatment for all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against any body of citizens.

Unquestionably, many things have changed -- mainly for the better -- for Jews and other minorities in America since 1913. Discrimination in hiring, in schooling, and in housing, once so common, is now prohibited by law. Unlike in the past, few Americans feel compelled to conceal their origins. Offensive caricatures rarely appear in the mass media, and racial and religious stereotypes, on the whole, no longer dominate American popular culture.

These changes are due, in large measure, to the efforts of the Jewish Community and it's civic efforts.

Today, as in the past, the Jewish community works to expose and combat the purveyors of hatred, discrimination and intolerance in our midst.

Today, all the faiths are flourishing and enjoying the freedom, thanks to the pioneering efforts of the Jewish community to continue to work on the separation of Church and State.

Mayor Becky Miller presented the trophy to Leon Levin, while Mike Ghouse and Julie Ann Turner looks on.

Leon Levin Acceptance speech.

Pluralism Prayers led by Swami Nityananda Prabhu: L-R: Julie Ann Turner, Mike Ghouse, Dr. Mohammad Khalid, Bryan Lankford, MaryAnn Thompson_Frenk, Regina Rafraf, Robert Hunt, Dr. Harbans Lal, Leon Levin.

No comments:

Post a Comment