A letter from Rabbi Robert Marx, founder of JCUA, read by Rabbi Bruce Elder on June 23, 2011 at the Rabbi Robert J. Marx Social Justice Awards Dinner.
We are a stiff-necked people, so goes the Biblical assertion. To my great disadvantage I tried to discover the literal meaning of that aphorism by breaking my neck and left clavicle. The pain I experience now is tempered by the realization that it could have been worse for the bone I injured was the same one that devastated Christopher Reeve. And so, while fortunate in one respect, I am also deprived for the first time in many years, of the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our Jewish Council on Urban Affairs.
How I wish I could be with you to honor the inspired leadership of Jane Ramsey, the dedication and wonderful service of Steve Keen as JCUA president for the last three years, and the commitment of JCUA staff that remains as imaginative as it is tireless. How I wish I could be with you to congratulate my colleague, my friend, my Rabbi—Bruce Elder—as he assumes the presidency of out Council. And how I wish I had the opportunity to congratulate the three outstanding members of our community you have chosen to honor this day: Ralph Brown, Roberta Nechin and David Midgley. For many years their good deeds have cried out for acknowledgment and recognition.
Of course I am with you in thought and in spirit. There is still so much more to do. There are communities hungering for guidance and help. There are new fields to be tilled, homes to be built, hopes to be shared. Not backward but forward must be our direction, even in this time of recession, in this time of reaction, in this age of temerity. Please, do not be afraid to accommodate new dreams. Please, keep the vision alive.
-Robert J. Marx, Rabbi