A major local corporation and four community leaders who work to improve the quality of life in the Valley will be honored at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Arizona Region’s Torch of Liberty Awards dinner on Nov. 1.
Arizona Public Service (APS) is being recognized for partnering with ADL since 1987, and for continually supporting the organization’s No Place for Hate Initiative, according to ADL Arizona Regional Director Carlos Galindo-Elvira.
“APS being generous to nonprofit agencies of all types throughout Arizona is compatible with the Arizona Region of ADL because we also represent all of Arizona,” Galindo-Elvira said.
The ceremony is an annual event designed to honor community leaders and corporations the ADL believes best reinforce its mission statement. The Torch of Liberty Dinner has been held in Arizona since 1971.
The ADL will also honor Richard Kasper, president and CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix; Sylvia Moir, the city of Tempe police chief; Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, president and dean of Valley Beit Midrash; and Hon. Jonathan Rothschild, mayor of Tuscon.
Kasper will receive the “Al” Brooks Community Leadership Award. Galindo-Elvira cited Kasper’s leadership of the Foundation for strengthening a “permanent source of financial support for a vibrant, enduring Jewish community.”
“This is such a wonderful honor, and when I look over the list of the prior recipients, it’s one I’m honestly not sure I deserve,” Kasper said. “Nevertheless, it is great to have the work we do at the Jewish Community Foundation recognized.”
Kasper has led the Foundation since 2013. He has also served on the boards of the Foundation, Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Community Association.
“Through my work, I have gotten to know — or deepened my relationships with — so many remarkably dedicated people throughout the Jewish community,” Kasper said. “Without a doubt, those relationships are what keep me going, and what keep me focused on building and improving the Foundation for the benefit of the entire community.”
Moir will receive the George Weisz ADL Law Enforcement Award. She has been Tempe’s chief of police since 2016. Galindo-Elvira said Moir deserves the award for her respectful and earnest approach to policing.
“Combating extremism, hate and bigotry is an absolute team effort,” Moir said. “To remain committed in making a difference in every encounter that we have, we as police officers exist to safeguard all people.”
Moir participated in an ADL advanced training school on terrorism and extremism in Washington, D.C. She was chief of police of El Cerrito from 2010 until her appointment to the Tempe Police Department.
Yanklowitz will receive the Herman Lewkowitz ADL Rising Leader Award. Through a partnership with the ADL and Valley Beit Midrash, Galindo-Elvira has seen first hand Yanklowitz’s commitment to bringing social issues to the forefront of the Jewish community.
“The ADL Arizona branch has been proactive at raising awareness for issues that are bigger than the Jewish community,” Yanklowitz said. “Issues such as justice for DREAMers, supporting asylum seekers and fighting Islamophobia.”
Yanklowitz has been the president and dean of Valley Beit Midrash since 2013. He is also founder of Uri L’Tzedek, Arizona Jews for Justice and YATOM: The Jewish Foster & Adoption Network.
“Tomorrow’s challenges allow us to continue calling for more peace, more justice and more righteousness in the world,” Yanklowitz said.
Finally, Mayor of Tucson Hon. Jonathan Rothschild will receive the Stand Up for Courage Award. Mayor Rothschild was an early signer of the Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry after the deadly rally in Charlottesville.
“He demonstrated leadership in the adoption of an anti-hate ordinance in Tucson; and he’s taken a vocal and visible presence in opposing the family separation policy,” said Galindo-Elvira. “By both standing up and speaking out, Mayor Rothschild exhibits a level of courage necessary for building an inclusive and respectful community.”
The dinner’s keynote speaker will be the director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, Oren Segal.
“Our Torch of Liberty Dinner is our chance to highlight the serious nature of hate incidents,” Galindo-Elvira said. “Whether it is anti-Semitic or impacting other communities, people should be aware that as an anti-hate organization, we take it seriously and we are here standing tall for our community.” JN
The ADL’s annual Torch of Liberty Dinner will take place at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia at 6 p.m. on Nov. 1.