Poland Honors AJC's Gosia Szymanska Weiss

Apr 26, 2013, 15:49 ET from American Jewish Committee

LOS ANGELES, April 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The President of Poland has honored an AJC staff member with one of the country's highest honors. 

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100816/AJCLOGO)

Gosia Szymanska Weiss, Assistant Director for International Relations in AJC Los Angeles, received the Knight Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, in recognition of her outstanding services to the Polish American and American Jewish communities in building Polish-Jewish relations.

"I am elated and humbled to accept this medal from the President of Poland," said Szymanska Weiss, a native of Poland, who moved to the U.S. and has worked at AJC Los Angeles since 2008. She manages outreach to the diplomatic community in Los Angeles, as well as the national AJC Polish-Jewish Exchange Program.

"I travel to Poland often, and my ties to my home country are very deep," said Szymanska Weiss. "I love being Jewish and I love being Polish.  But most of all, I love that we live in a time where I neither want to choose nor have to choose between these two identities."

Ambassador Joanna Kozinska-Frybes, Consul General of Poland in Los Angeles, presented the award at the AJC Los Angeles annual meeting. Diplomatic representatives of 20 countries were among the nearly 200 attending the award ceremony.

"She is a Pole. She is a Jew. She represents perfectly the diaspora that I was speaking about, remembering the past, following traditions and working for revival," said the Polish diplomat.

"I am so proud of my country, how it has blossomed since the collapse of communism and embraced modernity, while also reexamining its past and engaging in a sometimes excruciating public conversation about culpability, complicity, shame, pride, pain, and Poland's complex relationship with the Jewish people," Szymanska Weiss continued.

"I am also proud that as early as the late 1990s, AJC was the first to recognize that Poland could be an important interlocutor, and continues to consider Poland significant to world Jewry and the State of Israel."

SOURCE American Jewish Committee