Thursday, July 18, 2019 -
Print Edition

The ‘Joint’: Taking care of abandoned or persecuted Jews worldwide for 100 years

Steven SchwagerLast fall, as part of the Global Day of Jewish Learning, Steven Schwager, CEO of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, posted an online question — “Who are the others?” — challenging participants to discuss what obligations, if any, Jews owe to this mysterious group of people.

“It’s a very interesting question,” Schwager said in Denver last month, while in town to address local supporters of the JDC.

“Part of being a Jew is the obligation to make the world a better place. The others, in my view,  are those who are victims, whether it’snatural disasters, poverty, oppression — all of those who should be living a better life than they are living now. I think that we as Jews have an obligation to try to make their lives better in whatever way we can.”

As the man in charge of “the Joint,” as it is still internationally known, Schwager realizes that the issue is directly germane to his work.

The JDC not only keeps thousands of Jews worldwide from starvation, disease and homelessness, but through its International Development Program, founded in 1986, strives to perform the same for non-Jewish victims of disaster — the tsunami and Haitian earthquake being among more dramatic recent examples.

The rest of the interview is available in the IJN’s print edition only. Contact Carol to order your copy at (303) 861-2234 or

Chris Leppek

IJN Assistant Editor |

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