Posts

Join us in Minneapolis!

SThomas_general-session

Dear Friends,

Every year, some of the best thinking around Diversity & Inclusion takes place at the Forum on Workplace Inclusion in Minneapolis. We are proud to once again be among the presenters at this important event.

This year, Tanenbaum will be presenting “The Battle for Inclusion: Exploring Veteran Status and Religion in the Workplace.”
Mark Fowler and Liz Joslin will be joined by:

• Kimberly Mitchell: Director, Easter Seals Dixon Center
• Lisa Rosser: CEO and Founder, The Value of a Veteran
• Michael Burns: Director, Head of ICG Diversity, Citi

If you haven’t already registered for the Forum, click here to do so.If you have, we look forward to seeing you there!

In friendship,

Mark Fowler,
Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Nicky’s Family: How one man saved 669 children’s lives

Celebrating those people who rise above the rest, who step into the history books by acting in humanity’s pivotal moments, is an important part of how we choose the values we bequeath to the next generations. 

This Fourth of July, along with the rest of this country, I celebrated the heroes of our American Revolution. On July 5,  I had the unexpected honor of celebrating another hero, whose selfless acts in the months before the outbreak of WWII saved hundreds of lives and whose example has now inspired thousands of acts of kindness around the world.

Sir Nicholas Winton was a young Londoner enjoying the trappings of his budding career as a stockbroker when an unexpected encounter led him to eventually rescue 669 Jewish Czech and Slovak children just before the onset WWII. His story has now been made into a documentary by the name of Nicky's Family and the film will be showing in NYC at the JCC Manhattan, the Quad Cinema, the Kew Gardens Cinema and the Malverne Cinema stating on July 19.

I had the pleasure of watching the film on July 5 and it reminded me that while we often think that opportunities for heroism abounded in the past much more than today, it is in finding ways to make a difference now and acting in the face of difficult odds that leads to real heroism. 

For his actions then and for the example he has become today, Sir Winton has even been nominated for the Noble Peace Prize. If you watch the film and are moved to endorse this petition, you can do so by clicking here

Mihai Morar, Chief of Staff

A cautionary reminder about the destructive power of religious hate

Today is the U.S. release date of “La Rafle” (The Roundup) , a French film that follows the Jewish tenants of Parisian apartment house  during the little known roundup and deportation of Paris’s Jews during WWII. The film is based on real events and real people, and it is one of the most moving WWII films I have seen in a very long time. The film serves as a reminder of the tragic the results of religious hate.

“La Rafle” is based on an event that took place in 1942 and, 70 years and two months later, the  Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life  released a saddening study that sheds light on some alarming trends about the global rise religious oppression. To some readers, this may not be surprising. We have been hammered and disheartened by all the news about the religious fallout from the Arab Spring, growing tensions and violence in religiously diverse African countries and, earlier this year, by the sham trial and conviction of Pussy Riot band members for blasphemy in Russia.

But under these obvious reminders, there was also some surprising data in the study. One country where social hostilities toward religious groups moved up since last year is France.  In fact, France now falls under the category “High” on the Social Hostilities Index, alongside some other countries whose presence on that list is surprising, including the U.K., Germany, and Ukraine.

The U.K. and France are among the world’s pioneers of social democracy and liberalism, countries where what we call “western tradition” was incubated and where some of the ideals of our modern civilization were first espoused. Germany and Ukraine had catastrophic experiences with religious hatred. One would think all four of these countries would have learned the important lessons about the existential dangers of religious prejudice, but unfortunately this does not seem to be the case.

Perhaps the most surprising surprise (for me) in the PEW study was that religious freedom is also on the decline in the U.S. Like our European counterparts, the U.S. is undergoing a resurgence of religious oppression, and indicators of social hostilities toward religious groups and government restriction on the free practice of religion are both rising.  This is alarming.

All of our societies, both here and in Europe, need a reminder of just how tragic the results of hate can be, so I highly recommend attending a showing of  “La Rafle” (The Roundup). If you know anyone who needs to be reminded about how religious hate impacts our world, this film is a perfect fit.

Mihai Morar
Chief of Staff