During these days of Shoah and zikaron....
As many of you know, on April 1, I proudly joined the ranks of Jewish professionals when I accepted the assignment as "President and CEO" of a new 501(c)(3) Friends of Project HEART. HEART, the Holocaust Era Asset Restitution Task Force, was created by the Government of Israel in partnership with the Jewish Agency to link Holocaust Survivors, their direct heirs and the heirs of the 6 million with restitution for the greatest crimes in World history. With the funds we raise, we will provide these victims with a measure of justice they have been waiting for for over 70 years. Because the financial support for this effort has been welcome but inadequate to the enormity of the task, Friends of Project HEART will seek donor support to enable and further the massive research, the outreach to Survivors and heirs and the prosecution of restitution claims so as to gain that measure of justice for those of our People for whom justice has been denied for so very long.
The goals of HEART are simple: to amass the evidence of this most awful theft in all of the countries where Jews were victims, then to use the information collected to seek restitution and recognition for victims and direct heirs from the relevant successor authorities and institutions. The aim is to reach out to all potential claimants so as to directly assist the victims of this most massive crime in history get back what is rightfully theirs.
I took this position in part because I was inspired by those young women and men who are immersed in and overwhelmed by this Project's enormity. Their passion and caring for the victims of Nazi genocide, terror and theft gave me a sense of a Movement that I have not felt since Operation Exodus, since the best days of the UJA, the passion and caring that constantly inspire Birthright's lay and professional leaders and donors and the passion and caring which were embodied in the federation system in which you and I grew up and which must be rekindled...everywhere.
I have been tasked with raising millions to support the research, outreach and education efforts of HEART and with populating a Friends Board. Many with whom I have already spoken and met have given me guidance and direction. Some, like our dear friend and great leader, Ernie Michel, have already signed on to join us. I would welcome the assistance of each one of you as well, matching your passion with a great cause as the Survivors face their twilight.
My inspiration is found not only in the goals and work of HEART, but in the eyes and stories of the Survivors and their heirs with whom I have met; those of our People who just want a measure of justice and such closure as that justice might provide them, so many of whom have been waiting for decades. The inspiration is found in our maxim: justice, justice, shall you pursue.
We have built our Museums that house our memories and our tears; we will continue to work every day to assure that memories of the Holocaust and its victims and the enormity of the crime against our Jewish People and the World shall never be forgotten. But, my friends, we have so much more work to do to assure that justice will be achieved for those whose losses have been too often thought to be immeasurable and who have yet to be recompensed.
Join me. Tzedek, tzedek, tirdof....