FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 19, 2023
MEDIA CONTACT: Jonny Levenfeld, West End Strategy Team
Interfaith Alliance Honors President Emeritus Rabbi Jack Moline with Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award
The annual award recognizes those whose courageous service advances the causes of inclusive democracy and true religious freedom.
WASHINGTON–On October 18, 2023, Interfaith Alliance supporters gathered in Washington, D.C. to present the organization’s Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award to president emeritus Rabbi Jack Moline. The honor recognizes individuals of faith and goodwill who stand up for true religious freedom and demonstrate the constructive force of religion in American public life.
Rabbi Moline served as president and CEO of Interfaith Alliance from 2015-2022 and as a longtime member of the board of directors, including as chair from 2006-2008. In a career spanning four decades, Rabbi Moline established himself as a powerful voice fighting for religious freedom for all Americans, regardless of their faith or belief system.
“I am honored to receive this award that bears the name of the great Walter Cronkite, who recognized Interfaith Alliance as the essential organization for our democracy and for people of all beliefs,” said Moline. “Radical empathy is what our Constitution demands and what my faith teaches. It was cultivated in my heart by my service to this organization.”
Many of the speakers at last night’s reception noted that Rabbi Moline was an early and outspoken critic of the Trump administration’s travel ban targeting the Muslim community, and remained vocal against the former president’s efforts to weaponize faith for political purposes. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he was an integral faith voice in support of commonsense public health measures.
“All of us at Interfaith Alliance are privileged to honor Rabbi Moline for his innumerable contributions to faith and freedom in America, which certainly include but are in no way limited to his service to our organization for close to 20 years” said Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, president and CEO of Interfaith Alliance. “Jack’s fierce dedication to our Constitution and to the rights of all people have inspired so many of us who are committed to building a country where all belong – and our nation is better for it.”
When the Biden administration took office, Rabbi Moline brought together diverse voices united in their belief of an inclusive vision of religious freedom through The American Purpose web series. And as part of Interfaith Alliance’s mission to combat discrimination at all levels, he bolstered the organization’s capacity to effect change through policy, legal channels, and grassroots activism.
Walter Cronkite, the illustrious journalist who was known as “the most trusted man in America,” was the honorary chair of Interfaith Alliance from 1997 until his death in 2009. Cronkite remained a committed supporter of the organization for many years because, in his words, “nothing less is at stake in the work of the Interfaith Alliance than the existence of democracy as we know it.”
Past recipients of the Cronkite Award include actor and activist George Clooney, MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow, the Rt. Rev. Jane Holmes Dixon, and veteran broadcast journalist and Interfaith Alliance board member Peter Maer.
A native of Chicago, Rabbi Moline is a graduate of Northwestern University and studied to become a rabbi at the University of Judaism (now the American Jewish University) in Los Angeles and the Jewish Theological Seminary’s (JTS) Jerusalem and New York campuses. Among his many roles, he served as the Rabbi of Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria, Virginia for 27 years, chair of the Interfaith Relations Committee of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and vice president of the Washington-Baltimore Rabbinical Assembly.
Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.