Hundreds Gather to Honor Elie Wiesel's Legacy and Fight Genocide

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Fifth annual World Values Network Honors Champions of Jewish Values.

Last night, the World Values Network hosted its fifth annual Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala at Cipriani 42nd street, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. The event paid special tribute to the late holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Laureate, Elie Wiesel, who dedicated his life to combatting genocidal ideology and attacks. Wiesel’s son Elisha served as the night’s keynote speaker and delivered an emotional final Kaddish (mourner’s prayer), which is recited during the first year following a family member’s death in the Jewish religion.

The gala celebrated the organization’s commitment to promoting universal Jewish values and defending the State of Israel to mainstream and international audiences. Individuals who received awards at the gala for their friendship towards the Jewish people and fighting genocide included Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Kagame was celebrated for his heroics in ending the 1994 Genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda. A Torah scroll, dedicated to the victims of the holocaust and the Rwandan genocide and bearing Elie Wiesel’s name was completed, with Elisha Wiesel writing the last letter, and plans for a new anti-genocide center was announced.

The night also featured Derek Black, a former white nationalist who renounced his racist upbringing and family orientation after meeting Jewish friends in college who showed him that the goodness in man has no link to race, religion, or culture. Due to his courageous and exemplary shift in beliefs and for redirecting his life towards valuing and loving all people equally, Black received the Elie Wiesel Award and a round of thunderous applause. His fellow honoree was Matthew Stevenson, the Jewish student who reached out to him.

At the event, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach urged the approximately 700 in attendance to take actions in line with Wiesel and advocate against genocide, mass murder, and human rights abuses.

“The Bible is clear: Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor,” Rabbi Shmuley said. “The responsibility of the powerful to protect the weak is everlasting.”

Link to photos of the event can be found here:
Courtesy Getty Images: http://www.gettyimages.com/photos/rabbi-shmuley-boteach?excludenudity=true&family=editorial&phrase=Rabbi%20Shmuley%20Boteach&sort=best#license

Media Inquires: Ari Zoldan, Quantum Media Group, LLC ari(at)arizoldan.com

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Ari Zoldan