Or Ami “Light of My People” Awards
Established in 1973, WRJ’s Or Ami “Light of My People” Award for Special Achievement in Programming recognizes exemplary social justice, community service, and educational events that can serve as a model for other WRJ Districts and sisterhoods. We reviewed 54 inspiring applications in 2020. The list of winners, honorable mentions, and program descriptions can be found here.
In 2023 we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our Or Ami Awards. While awards typically cover a two-year period, 2023’s winners expanded to three years because many programs pivoted to a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The programs created by our Districts and women’s groups are so meaningful to WRJ. They teach us, they inspire us, they entertain us, they bond us – demonstrating sisterhood, spirituality, and social justice in every way. The Or Ami Award winners were honored at District Conventions in Spring of 2023.”
- WRJ Vice President of Engagement, Jane Taves
Check out the special 50th anniversary brochure complete with the winners and honorable mentions here.
Dr. Jane Evans “Pursuit of Justice” Award
The Evans Award is WRJ’s most prestigious award. Established in memory of WRJ’s renowned first Executive Director, Dr. Jane Evans, the award is presented to outstanding leaders who further our Reform Jewish values and humanitarian causes. On August 25, 2020, WRJ honored HIAS for its longstanding commitment to aiding refugees and the world’s most vulnerable people.
WRJ presented the 2022 award to Ambassador Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, the U.S. government’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism. A highlight of Dr. Lipstadt's many accomplishments includes spearheading the creation of the Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University, receiving numerous teaching awards, publishing extensively, and winning the case Irving v Penguin Books Ltd, in which she was sued by a Holocaust denier for libel. Dr. Lipstadt continues to fight anti-Semitism and truly models the pursuit of justice. Sara Charney and Rosanne Selfon, presented the award to Dr. Lipstadt at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Watch a video of the presentation below.
Women's Empowerment Awards
Part of WRJ’s mission is to strengthen women’s voices and empower them to advocate for and promote Jewish values. On May 13, 2022, we honored 12 Jewish women with our Women’s Empowerment Award. This award is given to those who make a difference and help change lives daily through their strength, dedication, compassion, and hard work. We were thrilled to honor Dana Bash, CNN's chief political correspondent, as one of these 12 women. We were also happy to include the Jewish quartet, Fourtelling, to perform at this event. Please take a minute to enjoy the event photos.