Magazine article The Christian Century

Ruth Messinger Was a Politician in New York City in the 1980s and 1990s before She Took the Helm of a Respected but Low-Profile Nonprofit Focused on International Development: The American Jewish World Service

Magazine article The Christian Century

Ruth Messinger Was a Politician in New York City in the 1980s and 1990s before She Took the Helm of a Respected but Low-Profile Nonprofit Focused on International Development: The American Jewish World Service

Article excerpt

Ruth Messinger was a politician in New York City in the 1980s and 1990s before she took the helm of a respected but low-profile nonprofit focused on international development: the American Jewish World Service.

After 17 years, Messinger, 75, is giving up the presidency of AJWS, which grew into a major player in the fight against global poverty under her leadership. In 2015, the group gave out nearly $40 million for projects in 19 nations.

"All our work, locally and abroad, is really about learning to listen to 'the other,"' Messinger said. "I've written about this in terms of Judaism's central Shema prayer, which calls on us to listen. AJWS prides itself on being different from some other very good international human rights and development organizations because we don't send in the troops. That may be not the right metaphor. But the entire orientation of our program staff is to say: 'How can we help you? What's your vision of social change?'"

In July Robert Bank, 56, the executive vice president of AJWS, will succeed Messinger, who will stay on part time. Bank grew up in South Africa in a community of Eastern European Jewish immigrants who had fled the Holocaust or pogroms. He began his career as a concert pianist, became a lawyer for New York City, and then was chief operating officer of the Gay Men's Health Crisis, a group responding to HIV/AIDS. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.