Prof. Edelman Addresses JSPAN Award Ceremony for Dan and Sheila

Ken Myers, Sue Myers and Jeff Pasek contributed to this article. The fourth annual Social Justice Award was presented to Sheila and Dan Segal at a reception at the Independence Visitor Center on December 9. Keynote speaker was Georgetown Law Professor Peter Edelman, a long-time friend of the Segals, who spoke on "Life after Bush: Social Justice in the New Administration." The award program welcome was provided by co-chairs Ruth Laibson and Adena Potok who introduced Professor Edelman. Well known as a national expert in the fields of poverty, welfare, and juvenile justice, Professor Edelman was a Legislative Assistant to Senator Robert F. Kennedy and served as Issues Director for Senator Edward Kennedy's Presidential campaign. During President Clinton's first term, he served as Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He is also the past President of the New Israel Fund, the leading organization committed to democratic change within the State of Israel. Professor Edelman described the coming transition to the new Obama Administration as "a transformational moment" an exercise in democracy that we have seldom seen." But for those who would advance the progressive agenda, it is "only the beginning of our work. Democracy is not a spectator sport. It will take the same outpouring of support [received by Obama in the election] to carry out his program," according to Edelman. The work to be done includes steps "to revitalize defunct agencies" to protect working people." Moreover, "when it comes to poverty and near poverty, we need to press the Obama Administration to do more." Professor Edelman urged a "tripartite strategy" of public policy, carried out by non-proift agencies such as JSPAN, a civic responsibility element to assure that job training leads to new jobs, and the private, personal responsibility to support social justice. The award to the Segals was presented by Jeff Pasek, President of JSPAN, and David Pudlin, managing partner Hangley Aronchik Segal and Pudlin, where Dan serves as chair of the litigation department. After clerking for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Dan taught First Amendment and Constitutional Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He has served as President of the Juvenile Law Center, the Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education, and Akiba Hebrew Academy. He has also been Chair of the Philadelphia Soviet Jewry Council, Vice President of Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, and President of the Board of Overseers of Hillel at the University of Pennsylvania. Dan is also a member of the International Board of the New Israel Fund. Sheila Segal's "first career" was in the world of Jewish publishing. Besides serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Jewish Publication Society, she authored two books, "Joshua's Dream" and "Women of Valor: Stories of Great Jewish Women Who Helped Shape the Twentieth Century." In the 1990's, Sheila trained to be a professional chaplain. For the past 12 years, Sheila has served at the Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Center for Jewish Life and its predecessor, the last six years as Director of Chaplaincy Services where she helps provide for the spiritual needs of 300 residents and their families. Sheila also serves as Vice President of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains and writes about spiritual aspects of aging. Accepting the award, Dan pointed out the two leading themes in Jewish philanthropy: social justice and Jewish education. Although these "two kinds of Jewish organizations are very different from each other, Jewish education devoid of social justice is not Jewish education at all." Sheila Segal expressed thanks and described her devotion to her cause: "Chaplaincy is inspired by the belief in the holiness of human life. Healing is possible when people are extended compassion and human respect." Referring to a second theme of the evening, she challenged everyone present to join JSPAN efforts to act in support of Darfur. "The victims of Darfur, who have slipped from the spotlight, deserve our respect." The event was well supported by a large turnout of both Segal and JSPAN supporters. The Independence Visitor Center proved a perfect venue for the evening. Well known to those who sightsee here, it is not frequented by many Philadelphians. That is their loss. With excellent displays of Revolution era history, a great location halfway between the Liberty Bell Pavilion and the National Constitution Center, fabulous views of both edifices as well as Constitution Hall, and underground parking, the Visitor Center should be a must for locals as well as visitors.