Founders


Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis (z”l), Co-Founder

In 2004, after hearing of the slaughter and unrest in Darfur, Sudan, Rabbi Schulweis charged his congregation, Valley Beth Shalom, with forming a Jewish “world watch” to raise awareness of the atrocities.  From that beginning grew Jewish World Watch, initially a synagogue- based organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds to protest the first genocide of the 21st century and bringing vital assistance to its survivors.

In addition to founding JWW, Rabbi Schulweis was also the founding chairman of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, an organization that identifies and offers grants to those non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews threatened by the agents of Nazi savagery. He has been honored by both the religious and secular communities for his humanitarian efforts in these and other arenas.

Rabbi Schulweis was a much beloved spiritual leader and teacher at Valley Beth Shalom. He was a prolific and decorated author, editor and contributor to a number of magazines, and one of the best known pulpit rabbis in America.

Read Rabbi Schulweis’s Founding Sermon  | Listen to Rabbi Schulweis’s Founding Sermon

His influence spread far and wide, as evidenced by this article relating how he inspired Bruce Springsteen.

He passed away December 18, 2014, leaving behind his wife Malkah, three children, many grandchildren, and a bereaved community. You can watch Janice’s eulogy for him here.

 

Janice Kamenir-Reznik, Co-Founder

At the urging of her teacher and soon-to-be Co-Founder Rabbi Schulweis, Janice retired from the active practice of law to establish Jewish World Watch to be the Jewish response to genocide and mass atrocities.

After completing her initial years of education (B.A. ’73, UCLA; M.S.W. ’75, USC; M.A. ’75, HUC), Janice led LA’s Soviet Jewry mobilizing effort and traveled to the former Soviet Union in her capacity as the Director of the Commission on Soviet Jewry for the Los Angeles Jewish Federation. After earning her J.D. from UCLA in 1982, Janice practiced environmental law for more than two decades.

Janice has served as a leader of many Jewish, feminist, and legal organizations in addition to serving as an LA County commissioner. She is married to Benjamin and has three children, Yoni, Devi and Sami, who is married to the lovely Rachel.

 

Board Chair

David Straus

David Straus is a poet that writes at the intersection of the mundane and the spiritual.  He is also an accomplished Investor and Entrepreneur. After selling his first company to Amazon in 2008 he and his team created and headed up the Los Angeles office of IMDb (a division of Amazon). In 2013, he formed his next company, Critical Mass Studios Inc., which acquired Rightsline Software the same year.

David spends the majority of his time managing Critical Mass Studios but also coaches C-Suit executives, supporting them in finding solutions to achieve the goals and success they desire.  David also invests in Social Entrepreneurial ventures and advises entrepreneurs on best practices for raising capital and building customer and shareholder value.

When not spending time with his family, David loves to discuss the unknowns of the universe.  David joined the board of JWW in 2008 and took on the job of Chair in January of 2016.  In addition to his work with JWW David is also the Vice-chair of the Zimmer Children’s Museum.

Other Board Members

Diana Buckhantz
Jane Z. Cohen
John Fishel
Oren Gabriel
Stuart A. Gabriel
Diane Kabat
Rabbi Alan Lachtman
Sheryl Layne
Brie Loskota
Vaughan Meyer
Joy Picus
Marcy Rainey
Susan Saltz
Malkah Schulweis
Rabbi Richard Spiegel
Zev Yaroslavsky
Harriet Zaretsky
Helen Zukin
James ‘Jim’ Zukin