AJC Celebrates 75 Years of History and Hope
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AJC Celebrates 75 Years of History and Hope

The Atlanta regional office of the American Jewish Committee honored its past presidents at the 75th Anniversary Legacy Dinner on May 9th.

After 35 years with the Atlanta newspapers, Marcia currently serves as Retail VP for the Buckhead Business Association, where she delivers news and trends (laced with a little gossip).

  • Past leaders Arnie and Tobyanne Sidman, Phillis and Lew Kravitz reminisce about their roles in the AJC.
    Past leaders Arnie and Tobyanne Sidman, Phillis and Lew Kravitz reminisce about their roles in the AJC.
  • Current AJC president Melanie Nelkin along with Allan Nelkin and Lenny Silverstein, past AJC president, chat during the reception.
    Current AJC president Melanie Nelkin along with Allan Nelkin and Lenny Silverstein, past AJC president, chat during the reception.
  • Spring Asher, Susan Booth and Max Leventhal connect AJC to the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.
    Spring Asher, Susan Booth and Max Leventhal connect AJC to the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

The Atlanta regional office of the American Jewish Committee honored its past presidents at the 75th Anniversary Legacy Dinner May 9 at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead.

The evening was a celebration of AJC Atlanta’s past, present and future. Since its founding in 1944, the Atlanta chapter has grown from the 12 signers of the original charter to more than 2,000 members today, and includes several innovations, such as the creation of the Atlanta Black-Jewish Coalition, the ACCESS young professionals’ organization, and the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

Dov Wilker, AJC Atlanta regional director, energetically guided the crowd through vignettes with some of Atlanta’s most illustrious leaders sharing the historic and socially significant events in our city’s history.
“We are thrilled to recognize our past presidents, whose lives, leadership and work in the Atlanta Jewish and civic communities reflect AJC’s global mission,” Wilker said.

Elaine Alexander, Beth Paradies, and Sherry Frank, among others, marched us through Selma and The Temple bombing, and concluded with Riverwood High School student Jaren Linowes as a symbol of the future.
Sheri and Steve Labovitz were the most extemporaneous and entertaining relating their role in the AJFF. Miles Alexander joked about being “decades later with the same law firm and the same wife.” His wife spoke of gender equality in the 1970s and attaching her wagon to civil rights leaders such as John Lewis, Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young. “We {the AJC} didn’t settle for any “wannabes.’”

Gregg Paradies and past Presidents Lauren Grien and past President Beth Paradies feel the importance of AJC building community and interethnic bridges.

Wilker introduced a live taping of AJC Passport, AJC’s podcast on global affairs, a conversation with Hannah Rosenthal, former U.S. State Department Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. She spoke of dealing with an anti-Semitic mayor in a Swedish town whom she chose to “use diplomatic tools to have removed.” She also relayed an emotional trip taking eight imams to Auschwitz, two of whom were Holocaust deniers.

During the prefunction reception, past AJC presidents Paradies and Lauren Grien chatted about their roles in representing interethnic and interreligious communities and building important bridges. Lew Kravitz and Arnie Sidman spoke of getting back tenfold what they put into their terms as leaders.

The 75th anniversary is a year-long celebration, co-chaired by Stephen M. Berman, Debbie Neese, Colby Schwartz and Mamie Dayan Vogel. The dinner was co-chaired by AJC Atlanta regional president Melanie Nelkin and first vice president Ilene Engel.

Founded in 1944, AJC Atlanta connects the community to AJC’s global advocacy work. Local access to diplomats, elected officials and ethnic and religious leaders advances AJC’s broader global priorities: combating anti-Semitism, promoting Israel’s place in the world, and countering the spread of radicalism and extremism.

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