On Sept. 15, at the Justice for ALL Dinner, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Camden will bestow their highest honors on an organization and an individual who exemplify the values of reaching out to the marginalized of society and building a more just community.
For their work on behalf of justice in the South Jersey region, Catholic Charities will award this year’s organizational Justice in Action Award to the three Jewish Federations that serve Southern New Jersey: Jewish Federation of Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Counties; Jewish Federation of Atlantic and Cape May Counties; and Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey (serving Camden, Gloucester and Burlington counties).
This year’s recipient of the individual Justice in Action Award is Deputy Mayor of Pennsauken Ricardo Taylor who, through a long career in education and public service, has demonstrated a dedication to justice.
The Jewish Federations of South Jersey
The Jewish Federations comprise a network of agencies that deliver a wide range of services to the vulnerable. Their programs include services for refugees, the homeless, the elderly and disabled, children and families and victims of Hurricane Sandy. Catholic Charities, which shares a service area with the three Federations, partners often with Federation agencies to deliver social services to those in need in the region.
The Federations’ mission statement extoll the concepts of tzedakah (charity), chesed (loving-kindness) and tikkun olam (repairing the world).
“This award demonstrates that social justice and tikkun olam are obligations we share with all faiths, as a sacred partnership, and that when we work together our collective impact is far greater,” said Steven Scherzer, president of Jewish Federation of Atlantic and Cape May Counties. “It means all the more that this recognition comes from a faith partner who is a beacon of good deeds in our world.”
“The Federation and its family of agencies remind us all not to harden our hearts, not to shut our hands to our needy brothers and sisters,” said Kevin Hickey, executive director of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden. “It is fitting indeed that we honor the Federation and acknowledge our shared obligation to making the world more just.”
Ricardo V. Taylor
Ricardo Taylor dedicated 42 years of his life to the children of Pennsauken as an educator and later as an administrator in the Pennsauken School District and a member of the Pennsauken Township Board of Education. He served nine terms as Mayor of Pennsauken and continues as a member of the Delaware River Port Authority Board of Commissioners. In his many posts of public service, he has been a tireless advocate for his community.
His contributions to the Diocese of Camden include positions of leadership at his parish, Saint Stephen in Pennsauken; membership in the Knights of Columbus; and active participation in the diocese’s Office of Black Catholic Ministry.
“I humbly accept this award in gratitude that my livelihood and my religious life have allowed me to give something back to my community,” Taylor said. “As an elected official I always believed that you have both civil and moral obligations and you can’t do one without the other. You have to do what you do for the good of the people.”
“In his years of public service, Taylor put into concrete practice the principles of Catholic social teaching that for too many of us remain in the domain of church pews and Sunday mornings,” said Hickey. “Throughout his career, he has worked to uncover the roots of injustice and proposed initiatives to make social, political and economic structures more just. He is a model for all those who seek to put justice into action.”
The dinner has the dual purpose of honoring the extraordinary service performed in the Diocese of Camden by the individuals receiving Justice in Action awards, and raising funds that allow Catholic Charities to provide direct assistance to those they serve throughout the diocese. Catholic Charities will serve more than 1,800 individuals and families within the six southern New Jersey counties that make up the Diocese of Camden with the funds raised by the dinner.
Since its inception in 2004, the dinner has raised more than $640,000. Every penny is used to end crises, prevent evictions and utility disconnection (electric, gas and oil), provide food and prescription needs, and create stabilization within families.
The Justice for ALL Dinner will be held on Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Adelphia Ballroom in Deptford. More details about the event can be found online at CatholicCharitiesCamden.org/JFA.