This week, Jewish World Watch (JWW) – an organization that I co-founded with Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, z”l,  just over a decade ago – brought together more than 3,500 people in Los Angeles for our Walk to End Genocide. It was incredible to look out from the stage and see so many faces of all backgrounds and faiths (many of whom are Wexner alums!) – united around the idea that we cannot stand idly as others face genocide and mass atrocities in countries like Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am excited that this weekend at the Wexner 30th Anniversary Celebration in Columbus,  I will be leading a Change Leaders workshop at which we will delve into the creation of new movements and organizations, such as JWW.

For me, the exhilaration of our great turnout at last Sunday’s Walk was tempered by the reality that it was our first walk without Rabbi Schulweis. In 2004, I was among those sitting in the congregation of Temple Valley Beth Shalom, when Rabbi Schulweis asked, “What will you do today to stop the first genocide of the 21st century – the genocide in Darfur?” From his moral call, we founded Jewish World Watch to educate and organize our community, lobby policymakers and provide moral support and direct assistance to survivors on the ground. 

Yet, as we walked through the streets of LA on Sunday, I saw the Rabbi’s powerful vision in action. Latino students from a charter school in Downtown LA walked together with Armenian leaders commemorating the 100th anniversary of their community’s genocide. African-American church leaders joined hands with elected officials and Holocaust survivors. Walk teams made up of synagogues, mosques, churches and schools carried signs bringing attention to the plight of communities now threatened in Sudan, Congo, Nigeria and the Central African Republic. I could almost hear Rabbi Schulweis “kvelling” and saying, “this is what it means to turn the words ‘Never Again’ into action.” 

The story of Jewish World Watch illustrates a critical lesson that I learned as a Wexner fellow:  leadership is not an individual endeavor, but rather a communal – and continual – process. In our organization, the road to success has spanned three generations. It took Rabbi Schulweis’ vision. It took extraordinary passion and unwavering dedication from my peers on the JWW Board. And, it took young leaders like Jesse Gabriel —​ the MC of our Walk and a member of the newest Wexner Heritage Class in Los Angeles – who championed our cause over the past decade when he was a JWW student activist at Berkeley and Harvard Law School. Like The Wexner Foundation, Rabbi Schulweis understood profoundly that sustainable leadership means constantly planting seeds and nurturing them to grow for the future. 

 Janice Kamenir-Reznik is a Heritage alum from LA/Westfeld. After graduating law school (UCLA), Janice practiced environmental real estate law for 12 years until she left to start, together with Rabbi Harold Schulweis, z”l, Jewish World Watch, an anti-genocide mobilization, advocacy and relief organization where she serves as President. Their projects include rape recovery, economic development, educational opportunity and rescuing and caring for liberated child soldiers. Domestically, their primary objectives are education and inspiration of American Jews (and beyond) to embrace the lessons of the Torah that we not to stand idly by while the “other” is annihilated. Janice has also been active at UCLA Hillel, (where she met her husband Ben of 40 years!), chairing the building committee for 10 years which led to the opening of its gorgeous new facility. Janice can be reached at