JOSEPH Lieberman, the first Jewish candidate for vice-president in American history, has agreed to serve as the international patron of The Joint Australia, a post that was previously held by the revered Elie Wiesel.
Senator Lieberman missed out on the US vice-presidency by the narrowest of margins when he ran on a Democratic Party ticket with presidential candidate Al Gore in the 2000 election, and then continued his political career as a senator.
As the international patron of The Joint Australia, he will be flanked by the organisation’s national patron David Gonski, and a newly formed board of governors that includes community stalwarts John Gandel, Ervin Vidor, Professor Gus Lehrer and Justice Stephen Rothman.
The new board and its international patron represent a major coup for the The Joint Australia, which was established only four years ago.
Last month, The Joint Australia president Eva Fischl met with the now-retired senator and his wife Hadassah in New York, where he agreed to assume the role, beginning immediately.
They discussed the growing importance of Australia’s contribution to the ongoing global effort of the international Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) to rescue Jews in danger and care for millions of struggling Jews living in remote and forgotten corners of the globe and in Israel.
Lieberman stated: “We are pleased to encourage the Australian Jewish community – a role model in aiding fellow Jews and Israel – to elevate their involvement in JDC’s global work, ensuring a strong and vibrant Jewish future through their support of this vital organisation.”
He said he greatly valued the Australian Jewish community’s participation in The Joint’s non-sectarian work, especially when natural disasters strike, such as in Nepal, Haiti and more recently The Philippines.