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Eisendrath Awards

Contact: Donald Cohen-Cutler

“Activist Economist” and “Activist Actor” to be honored by Union for Reform Judaism
Sachs, Fox to receive Eisendrath Award for Repairing the World on December 14

NEW YORK—Dec. 6, 2007— Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, one of the most important leaders of the campaign against global poverty, and Michael J. Fox, award-winning actor and principal figure in the fight to cure Parkinson’s Disease, will both receive the Maurice N. Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award, one of the Reform Jewish Movement’s highest honors, on Friday December 14th during the Union for Reform Judaism’s Biennial Convention in San Diego.

The Eisendrath Award is named for the former executive director and president of the Union, who served the organization from 1943 until his death in 1973. Among those who are past Eisendrath Award honorees are Abba Eban, Marion Wright Edelman, Senator Jacob Javits and President Anwar Sadat.

“Professor Sachs has done as much as any single person to improve the lives of the world’s poor,” said Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism. “His creative and far-reaching efforts to improve the human condition and his work as an activist economist, echo Rabbi Eisendrath’s devotion to the prophetic ideal,” Yoffie said.

The work of Michael J. Fox inspires us all, Yoffie said. “His efforts to garner support for research into a cure for Parkinson’s Disease in general, and for stem cell research in particular, are in keeping with the highest ideals of Judaism. His passion, his vision, and his willingness to share his personal story are nothing less than inspirational.”

Jeffrey D. Sachs is widely considered to be the leading international economic adviser of his generation. For more than twenty years he has been in the forefront of the challenges of economic development and enlightened globalization, promoting policies to help all parts of the world benefit from expanding economic opportunities and well-being. He is being honored for his life-time commitment to alleviating global poverty.

The director of the UN Millennium Project from 2002 to 2006, Professor Sachs served as special advisor to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals, the internationally agreed goals to reduce extreme poverty, disease and hunger by the year 2015. He is also the president and cofounder of Millennium Promise Alliance, a nonprofit organization whose vision is the eradication of extreme global poverty by 2025.

In 2004 and 2005 Professor Sachs was named among the 100 most influential leaders in the world by Time Magazine, and is the author of hundreds of scholarly articles and many books, including the New York Times best seller The End of Poverty.

In 1991 Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and shared the news with the public in 1998. Since then he has assumed the role of advocate, dedicating himself to bringing awareness to Parkinson’s disease. He founded The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000, which has funded more than $50 million for Parkinson’s research (directly or through partnerships) in a little over three years. Fox has testified on Capitol Hill in favor of stem cell research and increased federal funding for Parkinson’s disease.

His best-selling autobiography Lucky Man, published in 2002, has been translated into seven languages, and the audio version received a 2002 Grammy award nomination. Fox is the husband of actress Tracy Pollan, the father of four children, and, in his spare time, a hockey fanatic.

Rabbi Eisendrath was a passionate champion of prophetic Judaism who applied social justice values to the struggle for civil rights, equal justice, peace in the midst of the Vietnam conflict, inter-religious cooperation for human rights and social justice. Under his leadership the Reform Movement experienced tremendous growth as congregations were formed in the new suburbs populated by GIs returning from World War II. In 1951 Rabbi Eisendrath moved the Union’s headquarters from Cincinnati to New York, dramatizing the adoption of a more dynamic program of leadership within the Movement. In the early 1950s the Union purchased its first camp and the Movement’s emphasis on social action began in earnest, culminating with the 1961 founding of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

The Union for Reform Judaism (formerly the Union of American Hebrew Congregations) is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, uniting 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues. Union services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programs, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C.


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