Young Leaders from New York at ADL’s 2015 National Leadership Summit

  • May 8, 2015

Each year, hundreds of leaders from across the country join together at ADL’s National Leadership Summit to learn how to advance the League’s mission of “stopping the defamation of the Jewish people and securing justice and fair treatment to all.” The 2015 Summit, held May 3-5 in Washington, D.C., brought together world leaders, foreign policy experts and civil rights luminaries to brief ADL’s National Commission, regional board members, and young leaders on the latest development and trends in the fight against hate at home and abroad.

ADL New York Region’s contingent included 17 members of the year’s Glass Leadership Institute class and Next Generation Philanthropy Board, Regional Board Chair Gregg Mashberg, and ADL New York Regional Director Evan Bernstein.

The 2015 National Leadership Summit kicked off with a focus on personal stories from a diverse array of cherished ADL partners, including the federal government, local law enforcement and leaders of the Sikh, transgender, and Latino communities. The inspiring testimonials launched the #MyADLStory hashtag campaign on Twitter, and set the tone for an inspiring and illuminating conference.

Sunday night, participants heard a sobering report on the state of global anti-Semitism from leaders of the Jewish communities of Europe, Latin America and the U.S. French Jewish leader Roger Cukierman, Argentine Jewish leader Aldo Donzis, President of the European Union of Jewish Students Jane Braden-Golay and Stanford University student senator Molly Horwitz recounted the chilling experiences of rising anti-Jewish attitudes and violence affecting their communities. The panel agreed with ADL National Director Abe Foxman that “this is the worst anti-Semitism since World War II.” Foxman offered a note of hope, however, noting that world governments and Israel are standing up to anti-Semitism in new ways, and he pledged ADL’s support to the world leaders, saying, “you will not face these challenges alone.”

On day 2, participants jumped right in to the most challenging Middle East issues with an esteemed panel of foreign policy thought-leaders. The afternoon featured a lunch session about the role of sports in promoting diversity and inclusion, with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, ESPN’s Michael Wilbon, PAC-12 Commissioner Larry Scott and CNN Contributor Maria Cardona.

After off-site visits to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the French Embassy and civil rights sites throughout the city, ADL leaders returned to pay homage to Abe Foxman, who this summer will retire after 50 years with the League. The moving tribute was hosted by Face the Nation Anchor Bob Scheiffer, and featured emotional tributes from President Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ambassador Dennis RossLeon Weiseltier of the Brookings Institute and Elliott Abrams of the Council on Foreign Relations. Foxman followed up with a heartfelt thank you to past and present world and community leaders, ADL lay leaders and staff, friends and family.

Breakout sessions over the course of the conference featured in-depth analyses from ADL staff and other experts on topics such as improving police-community relations, exposing anti-Semitism on campus, combating anti-Israel bias, fighting violent extremism, supporting immigration reform, advocating for civil rights, and ensuring equity in education.

The final day of the conference, ADL Lobby Day, gave attendees the opportunity to visit Capitol Hill to advocate for ADL’s mission to nearly half of the U.S. Senate. The “lobbyists for a day” were briefed by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and John McCain (R-AZ), about how much ADL’s voice truly matters.

The New York delegation met with the office of Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) to encourage their support of ADL’s policy priorities. The conference wrapped up with an impassioned panel featuring civil rights leaders Winnie Stachelberg of the Center for American Progress, Wade Henderson of the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, and Angela Kelley of Planned Parenthood Federation America.

New York’s leaders returned home with a refreshed commitment to ADL’s timeless mission, and look forward to standing up against anti-Semitism, bias and discrimination in the region and around the world. To learn more about how to get involved in ADL’s young leadership programs, contact

Read 2015 National Leadership Summit participant Brooke Feldman’s blog about her experience at the summit.