New York, NY, November 4, 2013 … In recognition of his lifelong efforts to build bridges of understanding between different faiths, Rabbi A. James Rudin was honored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) with its Abraham H. Foxman Exceptional Leadership Award during the League's Annual Meeting in New York on November 1.
“Through decades of leadership and service, Rabbi Rudin has been a trailblazer in interfaith relations throughout his career,” said Ronald D. Balser, ADL National Commissioner, in presenting the award to Rabbi Rudin. “While his accomplishments are impressive unto themselves, it is the humanity, grace and empathy with which Rabbi Rudin conducts himself that really speaks to his character.”
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said during the award presentation that Rabbi Rudin has been “tireless in building bridges between faiths and promoting interreligious understanding and respect,” and that his work with the Catholic Church has been “exemplary.”
Rabbi Rudin is Senior Interreligious Adviser of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and also served as the organization’s longtime director of interreligious affairs. In more than 35 years at AJC, Rabbi Rudin was involved in several momentous interfaith dialogues and convocations and established interfaith understanding as a priority for the Jewish community. He is the author most recently of Cushing, Spellman, O’Connor: The Surprising Story of How Three American Cardinals Transformed Catholic-Jewish Relations, and is also author and editor of other works including Israel for Christians: Understanding Modern Israel, Evangelicals and Jews in Conversation; Evangelicals and Jews in an Age of Pluralism; Twenty Years of Jewish-Catholic Relations, and A Time to Speak: The Evangelical-Jewish Encounter.
Rabbi Rudin served in Japan and Korea as a United States Air Force Chaplain where he shared the same quarters and chapel with those of different faiths and was able to teach servicemen about Judaism and the State of Israel. Rudin was also a steadfast champion of civil rights and marched in Mississippi in the early 1960s.
In 1997, he was awarded the "Person of Reconciliation" Award from the Polish Council of Christians and Jews in Warsaw and in 1999, the International Council of Christians and Jews awarded him its Interfaith Medallion.
“Interfaith relations is needed now more than ever,” Rabbi Rudin said in accepting the award. “Religion, for good or ill, is playing a major role in world politics, culture, economics and international relations. And if we want a world free of hatred - as the ADL has worked so hard to do - a world that is safer for Jews; if we want a world that our beloved State of Israel has finally achieved [its own] safety, security, survival; we must continue to deal with religious leaders and the religious folk throughout the world, whether we agree with them or not, or whether they agree with us or not.”
The ADL Abraham H. Foxman Exceptional Leadership Award was established by Ronald D. and Barbara B. Balser as a tribute to the League's longtime national director, who for more than four decades has fought the forces of inhumanity and indecency and all forms of prejudice and discrimination. The Balsers are longtime members of the ADL National Commission. The award honors individuals who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of the Jewish people and recognizes those who are committed to protecting America’s democratic ideals.
The award is a specially commissioned bronze sculpture created by the internationally noted artist and 2008 U.S. National Medal of Arts recipient, Jesus Morales.