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Adelaide Ferguson and Alan Lerner to be honored by JSPAN

-- Rabbi Mort Levine

Adelaide Ferguson and Alan Lerner, two area leaders whose commitment to human rights, education and social justice has been felt locally and internationally, will be honored by the Jewish Social Policy Action Network (JSPAN) on Wednesday, November 14. The married couple will be presented with the group’s third Social Justice Award at 5:30 p.m. at the Pyramid Club, 52nd floor, 1735 Market St., Philadelphia. Mark Heywood, Phyllis Beck Scholar at Temple University and an AIDS activist from South Africa, will be the featured speaker at the event.

Jeffrey Pasik, president of JSPAN, noted, "We are thrilled to celebrate two people who, through great personal dedication and effort, have made valuable contributions to our community and the world. They have applied their legal training and educational expertise to achieve key social reforms, Alan through his child advocacy training program at the University of Pennsylvania and Adelaide through the teaching of law to foreign students and through her work in international human rights."

Ira Brind, Kenneth Myers and Janet Perry are serving as co-chairs of the event. Honorary chairs are Governor Edward G. Rendell and Senator Arlen Specter.

Adelaide Ferguson serves as Temple University’s Assistant Vice President for International Programs and as the Law School’s Assistant Dean for Graduate and International Legal Programs. She helped design and oversees an innovative rule of law program which has educated over 700 Chinese judges, prosecutors and legal professionals in the international norms of a just legal system. Under her aegis, thousands of law students have traveled abroad to study law and build bridges to understanding and cooperation. She is co-founder of Philadelphia’s Cherry Blossom Festival which promotes friendship and understanding between Japan and Philadelphia.

Alan Lerner has been recognized by his peers for inclusion in "Best Lawyers in America." He currently serves as a Practice Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He is the founder of Penn’s Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic where law, medical and social work students come together to advocate for children who have been mistreated. Since his days as a civil rights worker in Mississippi, he has devoted himself to making the legal system more responsive to the needs of the most neglected and powerless members of society.

The JSPAN Social Justice Award, given annually, recognizes noteworthy service to the community. Burt Siegel, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Philadelphia, was the first recipient in 2005. In 2006, the recipients were Andrew Chirls, past Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, and Larry Frankel, Pennsylvania Legislative Director of the ACLU.

JSPAN is a Jewish non-profit action agency incorporated in 2003. As an organization for change, JSPAN strives to advance progressive social policies on the critical issues of our time. It deals with a broad range of issues including bioethics, children and youth, Constitutional liberties, criminal justice, education, election law, energy, First Amendment rights, gun control, immigration, reproductive rights, separation of church and state, and welfare policies.

For more information or to register, go to the JSPAN website or call 215-460-2554.

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