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JCC Association Recognizes Senator Carl Levin and Rabbi Harold Robinson as Champions for Jewish Members of the U.S. Armed Forces

JCC Association proudly announces that it is presenting the Frank L. Weil Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Armed Services Field to U.S. Senator Carl M. Levin, Democratic senator from Michigan and the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, for his long and devoted service to the country, to its armed forces, and to the values of Jewish tradition. The award will be presented in Washington, DC on Monday, March 3, 2014.

JCC Association established the Frank L. Weil Awards in 1950 in the name of the leader who served with brilliant distinction as president of the Jewish Welfare Board from 1940 to 1950.

Born in Detroit, Senator Levin is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Harvard Law School. He was elected to the Detroit City Council in 1968, and in 1978 ran for the Senate and won. He is now the longest serving senator in Michigan’s history. In 2006, Time magazine selected him as one of America’s 10 best senators.

Besides chairing the Senate Armed Services Committee, he serves on the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. He has worked to maintain the integrity of the word “rabbi” in the military against those who preach theology widely recognized as Christian, and was instrumental in ensuring reproductive rights for women in uniform who were survivors of rape or incest.

“Senator Levin has lived the scriptural admonition “justice, justice shall you pursue,” said Allan Finkelstein, president and CEO of JCC Association. “His commitment to public service above self interest and his constant concern for the men and women serving in our military have been the hallmarks of his career.”

Rear Admiral Harold L. Robinson, CHC, USN Ret. will receive the Jewish Military Leadership Award also at the Biennial. The Jewish Military Leadership Award is given in recognition of devotion to Jewish life and peoplehood in addition to high military achievement. “Rabbi Robinson’s record of service to the Jews in the military and in civilian life sets a standard of excellence that brings honor and credit to both him and the organizations where he has planted his flag,” said David Posner, VP, community consultants/director, strategic performance, Mandel Center for Excellence in Leadership and Management at JCC Association.

Robinson was ordained as a rabbi in 1974 from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In 1999, the College Institute awarded him the degree of Doctor of Divinity, and in 2005, Coe College conferred the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

Rabbi Robinson was commissioned as a Navy chaplain in 1975. Overseas active duty assignments have included Italy, Scotland, Iceland, Japan, Guam, Bahrain, and Djibouti. He has visited forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar and Kuwait. In 2000, he was assigned as Deputy Chief of Chaplains for Reserve Matters and Director of Religious Programs, Marine Force Reserve.

His personal awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Naval Commendation Medal with two Gold Stars, and the Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Deployment Ribbon.

Rabbi Robinson was also spiritual leader of Temple Israel of Gary, Indiana, the Cape Cod Synagogue, and B’nai Zion Congregation in Shreveport, Louisiana. During this time, he has served on numerous boards and commissions, including 12 years on the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, six years on the Resolutions Committee of Reform Judaism and four years on the Commission on Religious Living of Reform Judaism. He served for seven years as Chair of the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination, Cape and Islands Advisory Council.

Since 2005 to the present, Rabbi Robinson has served as the director of JWB Jewish Chaplains Council, a service of JCC Association that provides support and advocacy for Jewish men and women serving in the United States Armed Forces, Veterans Administration and to their families.

“It was and is my special joy to serve our nation both in uniform and through the work of the JWB,” Rabbi Robinson said, “and to have been decorated for my service. But there is something overwhelming about being honored by the Jewish people I so deeply love. I accept in the name of the many fine chaplains and military lay leaders who earn this award daily, and whom I do my best to represent.”

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