Then, last November, I reached the pinnacle of law jobs by succeeding to the leadership of this esteemed organization. I believe that it was not accident that, when I was 13 years old and undergoing the Jewish rite of passage into adulthood – my Bar Mitzvah – the biblical portion I read to the congregation contained the motto of Bet Tzedek: “Tzedek tzedek tirdof.” Justice, Justice shall you pursue. This phrase, which has hung on my office wall for over 20 years, expresses the mission of Bet Tzedek, the House of Justice, and provides me with guidance in my legal career and my life. Along with our incomparable staff, I now have the opportunity to help individuals recapture livelihoods, families, homes or shelters that may have been stolen from, or wrongfully denied to, them.
It has now been several months since I realized my dream of leading Bet Tzedek Legal Services. Now that I have come to know Bet Tzedek from a perspective that even a long-time board member very rarely gets to see, I am more in awe of the people and their dedication and vision that make the agency what it is. I am deeply humbled to be known as its sixth President and CEO.
Since 1974, Bet Tzedek has offered a holistic and multifaceted approach to solving the legal problems of those most in need. With your support, we work to make neighborhoods better places, preserve access to safe and affordable housing, assure protection for vulnerable seniors, assist those caught in the cycle of poverty, help low-wage workers obtain their rightful pay and gain access to health care and other benefits, and secure freedom and justice for trafficked workers. Bet Tzedek provides real and tangible solutions to these and other problems facing the most vulnerable in our society.
And, as we did when we first opened our doors almost 40 years ago, we assist Holocaust survivors obtain some measure of reparations in acknowledgement of the horrors they endured during WWII. Our Holocaust Survivors Justice Network has gained national attention and has been identified as THE model for pro bono efforts of all kinds.
Bet Tzedek accomplishes all this through our business model that leverages the expertise of our staff with the commitment of over 1,600 volunteers in Southern California and throughout the country. And our six core units (Elder Rights, Employment Rights, Holocaust Services, Impact Litigation, Outreach & Education and Public Benefits) provide timely delivery of services while also responding with rapid programmatic changes that cater to client and community needs.
We are all deeply grateful for your support that provides the resources for us to continue in our mission of ensuring equal access to justice for all. Please renew your financial support, or if you are new to our efforts, join with us now in creating a more just world for all of us.
With deepest gratitude,
Sandor E. Samuels