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Jewish group honors Chancellor Christ for courageous leadership

Award recognizes measured approach to conflicts between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups on campus

UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ smiles at the camera
"As the first female chancellor of the top public university in the world, I am writing to you today because today’s decision by the Supreme Court is profoundly personal, alarming and distressing," UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ wrote in a message to the campus community. (UC Berkeley photo by Brittany Hosea-Small)

Chancellor Carol Christ can usually be depended upon to address thorny matters head on, whether the issue is a lack of minority representation on campus, racist or anti-Semitic slurs, or UC Berkeley’s commitment to free speech, regardless of the speaker’s viewpoint.

That willingness to take a stand in the face of controversy has earned Christ the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Relations Council of Northern California’s 2020 Courageous Leadership Award.

The honor goes to a person whose bravery has improved Jewish life — or, in this case, Jewish life at UC Berkeley, where tensions between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups can run high.

In an article about the awards in J. The Jewish News of Northern California, council spokesperson Jeremy Russell cited Christ’s “exemplary” response to anti-Semitic incidents and conflicts between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups at UC Berkeley. 

“Her responses have been clarion,” Russell said. “They have been clear and strong, and that’s part of what we’re applauding.”

Other Jewish Community Relations Council awardees being honored include philanthropists Jennifer and Tony Smorgon, San Francisco café proprietor Manny Yekutiel and Rita Semel, a longtime Jewish interfaith activist.

JCRC to honor UC Berkeley chancellor for courageous leadership