Richard J. Garfunkel
WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday
January 9, 2008
Wednesday, January 9, 2008, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting my show “The Advocates” on WVOX- 1460 AM on your dial, or you can listen to its live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio. My guest this morning in the studio is Mr. Neil Goldstein, the Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress.
In 1918, leaders within the American Jewish community, consisting of Jewish, Zionists, and immigrant community organizations, convened the first American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) in Philadelphia's historic Independence Hall. Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Felix Frankfurter, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, and others joined to lay the groundwork for a national democratic organization comprised of Jewish leaders from all over the country, to rally for equal rights for all Americans regardless of race, religion or national ancestry.
In addition to its stated goals of equal rights for all, it was founded to broaden Jewish leadership and to present a unified American Jewish position at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. It became effective as a pressure group in 1928 under the leadership of Rabbi Wise, who remained the president and chief spokesperson of the AJCongress until his death in 1949.
Through its emphasis on human rights for all Americans; on protection by government of the weakest among us; and on a just society based on civil law and the Jewish concept of Tzedek —righteousness— the American Jewish Congress has made its mark to a remarkable degree on American society in general and Jewish well-being in particular.
Today our discussion and topic will be: Keeping an Old Organization Young! The American Jewish Congress is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, and it has just had a major success with the Congressional passage of the US-Israel Energy Cooperation Act (USIECA) – a piece of legislation that the AJC conceptualized and helped lead to its passage.
Meanwhile, the mission of the “Advocates” is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “ issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow. Over the years, the “public policy” of the United States has changed or has been modified greatly. As an example, “free public education” is the public policy of the United States. Also, over time great struggles have ensued over the control of the direction of “public policy” For example: free trade vs. protectionism, slavery vs. emancipation, state’s rights vs. Federalism, and an all-volunteer armed forces or the “draft.”
Richard J. Garfunkel