The J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies presented the 2018 International Religious Liberty Award to Rabbi David Saperstein for his many years of work defending and supporting freedom of religion or belief for all. The award was presented by W. Cole Durham, Jr., ICLRS Founding Director, at the Ninth Annual Religious Liberty Award Dinner held on October 11, 2018 at the Monaco Hotel in Washington, DC. Rabbi Saperstein delivered the keynote address.
A rabbi and a lawyer, David Saperstein served as the US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Liberty from 2014 to 2017. He was also the first chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom and in 2009, was appointed to the first White House Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. For 40 years, he represented the Reform Jewish Movement, the largest segment of American Jewry, to Congress and the Administration, as Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Widely recognized for his leadership, he was described by Newsweek Magazine as the most influential rabbi in America and by the Washington Post as the “quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill.” During his career, Rabbi Saperstein has served as the chair or co-chair of several national interreligious coalitions and served on the boards or executive committees of numerous national organizations including the NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the World Faith Development Dialogue.
The 2018 Religious Liberty Student Writing Competition winners were also announced at the dinner.