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Tanenbaum – and I – Have Lost a Friend…Harvey Krueger

Harvey M. Krueger | Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace

There are many tributes today, honoring and remembering Harvey Krueger, who passed on April 23, 2017. He is remembered as a brilliant business leader, a compassionate and active philanthropist in the Jewish community, a lover of Israel and justice, a deeply devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and family man. And always, as the husband of Connie.

All these things are true. But, today, I am remembering Harvey because he was my friend. I first met Harvey during a major contract negotiation, where I was struck by what a force he was—and how he got what he wanted. It was later that we again met through my work at Tanenbaum. At first, I knew him only as a member of Tanenbaum’s Leadership Council. Soon, we were in friendship, discussing everything from equity and fairness in the Middle East, to anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, tribalism, to Tanenbaum’s peace building work and global workplace strategies, to our philosophies on marriage and life. He was always caring, always incredibly smart, and always made me think.

When I last saw Harvey, not as a representative of Tanenbaum but as his friend, it was for lunch in his home. It was after Connie was gone, and he was not doing well. When the time came for me to leave, he said he wanted to do something for me. I told him there was nothing to do, that I had just come to visit. But he insisted, got his wallet and handed me what would be his last gift for Tanenbaum.

That gift was not a large monetary gift. But it is was one of the most meaningful gifts I have received. It was a gift of the heart and a statement to our friendship. It was a privilege to call Harvey friend and, an honor, when he called me friend in return.

I miss him.

Joyce Dubensky

Tanenbaum mourns the loss of friend & leader, Arthur Hoffman

Tanenbaum mourns the loss on August 9th, 2016 of a great philanthropic leader, a man of who exemplified integrity and a commitment to social justice, and our true friend, Arthur Hoffman. Arthur was not only a gift to The Leir Charitable Foundations, but also a gift to so many people and organizations seeking to make the world a better place.

Arthur lived a life of commitment – To his family. To his profession. And in recent years, to carrying out the vision of Henry Leir through his service at The Leir Charitable Foundations as President.

Always a deep and critical thinker, Arthur brought integrity and care to the big picture and the details that make it up. He shared his connections, sought to bring together potential colleagues to create change, and was dedicated to ensuring that, together, we were building a more just world.

Arthur’s loyal support for Tanenbaum’s mission was profound. For that, and for his humanity, his grace, and his passion, the Tanenbaum family will deeply miss him. 

For our personal friendship, long discussions, and Arthur’s many insights, I will think of him often and wish we had more time. May his memory be for a blessing.

Joyce S. Dubensky
Tanenbaum CEO

Tanenbaum Condemns Explosion at Sikh Temple in Germany

Tanenbaum condemns an apparently deliberate explosion at a Sikh temple in Essen, Germany. There, the explosion occurred at a community gurdwara, while classes for children were being held along with celebrations for the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi. A masked man was seen fleeing the scene, and three arrests have been made. The Independent has reported that police are investigating the explosion as a deliberate attack, although “there are no indications it was a terrorist incident”.

“We are saddened to hear about the explosion at Essen’s Sikh temple. Such acts of violence are terrifying and designed to be so,” noted Tanenbaum CEO Joyce Dubensky. “Regardless of motive, violent acts such as this latest explosion are intended to kill people and then spread fear and distrust within and among communities. At Tanenbaum, we therefore condemn both the crime and the intention to terrorize people in Germany and across the globe.”

Though this is the first attack in Europe’s recent history that a Sikh gurdwara has been targeted, community members are anxious following the explosion.

“We may not be able to stop such deliberate acts of violence by ourselves. But we can stop the societal conditions that contribute to people believing that discrimination, violence and even terrorism are acceptable. We can end the use of stereotypes and the public and political rhetoric that dehumanizes others – through early education and by promoting civility and compromise when disagreements arise.” Dubensky continued, “Maybe then, less people will be drawn into ideologies that fuel hate crimes and terrorism.”

 

Tanenbaum is a secular, non-sectarian nonprofit that systematically dismantles religious violence and hatred through Peacemakers in armed conflicts and by tackling religious bullying of students, harassment in workplaces and disparate health treatment for people based on their beliefs.

Oregon Reflections & Recommitment

Dear Friends,

We are filled with sorrow for the innocent victims at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, for their families whose lives are changed forever, for their friends and their entire community.

As details emerge, at least two surviving students have reported that the shooter singled out students who were Christian. As Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin recommended, we will not name the shooter – we want attention to focus on those who will forever be marked by this day’s horrific events.

Tragically, this incident is not unique – in so many ways. Not only does it reflect a frightening trend of school gun violence, but it also reflects a terrorizing trend in which people are targeted because of their identities. Here, Christians seem to have been among those targeted. In Wisconsin not too long ago, the victims were the Sikhs. And in Kansas City, Jews were targeted at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and Village Shalom, a Jewish retirement community.

At Tanenbaum, our hearts again break for everyone injured by yesterday’s shooting. But our resolve is strengthened – as we recommit to countering religious violence and prejudice in all of its forms – in classrooms, hospitals, at work and across the world.

In solidarity,

Joyce S. Dubensky,
CEO

Tanenbaum Peacemaker Father Sava Travels to the U.S.

Father Sava Janjic, a Tanenbaum Peacemaker in Action who has been tirelessly pursuing peace and reconciliation in Kosovo for decades, concluded his recent trip to the U.S. last week in Boston, where he presented at the Colloquium on Orthodox Christianity and Humanitarianism: Ideas and Action in the Contemporary World. The Colloquium was sponsored by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America’s Office of Inter-Orthodoxy, Interfaith and Ecumenical Relations. Father Sava and Joyce Dubensky, Tanenbaum CEO, both had the privilege of sitting on the Colloquium’s “Experiences from the Frontline of Crisis Response and Delivery (Around the World)” panel on Friday, May 8, 2015.

Prior to his trip to Boston, Father Sava traveled throughout California with His Grace Bishop Maxim of the Western Diocese before spending a few days in Washington DC and New York. While in New York, Father Sava spoke to an intimate gathering at the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Sava on Tuesday, May 5, about life in Kosovo and the plight of Kosovo Serbians.

Tanenbaum CEO Joyce Dubensky with Peacemaker Father Sava Janjic

Tanenbaum CEO Joyce Dubensky with Peacemaker Father Sava Janjic

During his talk at St. Sava, Father Sava touched on a number of topics. He lamented the “second class” treatment of Kosovo’s Serbs; expressed concern over ethnic and religious extremism; and described how his monastery, Decani Monastery, was vandalized late last year with graffiti by ISIS sympathizers. While the Serbian Orthodox Church does not get involved in politics, Father Sava told the audience that the church promotes the equal treatment of all citizens, engaging in interfaith dialogue to help foster communal bonds among Kosovo’s differing sects.

Despite difficult challenges and numerous setbacks for Kosovo, Father Sava believes it’s critical to maintain hope and to continue to strive towards peace and a better world. He refuses to give up on his people.

 

Peacemakers in Our Midst by Joyce Dubensky, CEO

A lot of my work at Tanenbaum involves our Peacemakers. Men and women who are driven by religion to pursue peace and confront violence, hate and horror, even when doing so puts them at risk – either because they may be injured or because their freedom may be circumscribed. These Peacemakers are a special breed, coming from places where the world’s most violent crises often play out. Perhaps because this is my perspective, I have been particularly moved by the tragic deaths of unarmed black men in Ferguson and Staten Island, and I have also been touched by the local peacebuilders in our midst, who are trying to help us move beyond the pain and toward justice.

These are very difficult and complicated times. Community members question the seeming intractability of racial tension in America, the use (and abuse) of power by police officers and the fairness (and unfairness) of the judicial system.  Many are angry and frustrated, moved by a profound sense of injustice. And yet, we see police in New York who have shown restraint and significantly upheld our freedom to protest. Additionally, there are those who seek to capitalize on the unrest – by perpetuating the divide, looting, and menacing law enforcement and community members alike.

Standing amid all this tension are anti-racist religious and spiritual leaders, who are working locally and tirelessly to promote peace.

In Ferguson, religious leaders called on their community to respond peacefully to the grand jury’s decision in the Michael Brown case, and to take positive action such as by working collectively and voting. In New York City, spiritual leaders across many faiths have also united to pursue justice following the death of Eric Garner during an arrest by police. Some of them have protested and watched as members of their communities were incarcerated, while others have called on their congregations to speak with one voice for equal treatment for all

In response to the death of Eric Garner, a coalition of NYC religious and spiritual leaders are calling on our political leaders to make changes that they hope will help rebuild the community’s trust with police officers and government officials. In a signed letter, they delineated a series of actions they hope will move us forward, including a call for NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to appoint Special Prosecutors to investigate and prosecute incidents when there is a question of excessive force and wrongful death involving police officers.  Whether in response to their voices or otherwise, I am delighted to note that Mr. Schneiderman has now asked Governor Cuomo to take state action to enable such a process to move forward, subject to subsequent legislation.

These generally unknown anti-racist religious and spiritual leaders in New York are not household names like Martin Luther King, Jr.  But even though they are not widely acknowledged, they are active in our midst, seeking to heal our communities and to restore trust.

So, while we always support the Tanenbaum Peacemakers working in places like Iraq, Nigeria, El Salvador and Israel, we also pause today, and thank those who are working at home, striving to make our communities safer for all of us.

– Joyce S. Dubensky, CEO

A Child is Slaughtered…A Peacemaker Mourns

We are deeply saddened to report that a 5 year old Christian boy, named Andrew after our Peacemaker Rev. Canon Andrew White, was murdered and cut in half by Islamic State terrorists (ISIS) during an invasion of Qaraqosh, a small Christian town in Iraq.

“I’m almost in tears because I’ve just had somebody in my room whose little child was cut in half,” Anglican Canon Andrew White of St. George’s Church told the Anglican Communion News Service. “I baptized his child in my church in Baghdad. This little boy, they named him after me — he was called Andrew.”

“When this story came across the wires, we looked at it, thought of our Peacemaker in Iraq, Canon Andrew White. It leaves me without words. All we could do was to try to call him. But we haven’t been able to reach him yet.”
– Joyce S. Dubensky, CEO of Tanenbaum

Known as the Vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White has declared to news sources that he refuses to leave Baghdad. VICE News filmed a short documentary series about Andrew and his work which can be found in our blog post here.