Shevet Achim Award Honorees
Leon Klenicki joined the Anti-Defamation League as director of Jewish-Catholic relations in 1973 and in 1984 became its director of interfaith affairs, a position he held until 2001. In these capacities he was an important voice of American Judaism over four decades of improving Catholic-Jewish relations after the Second Vatican Council. Rabbi Klenicki was the author and co-author of hundreds of books and papers dealing with the theological and practical aspects of improving relations between Christians and Jews. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI named him a Papal Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great.
A native of Argentina, Rabbi Klenicki studied philosophy and classics at the University of Buenos Aires. In 1959, he won a scholarship to study at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, where he completed his rabbinical studies. He received a B.A. in Philosophy at the University of Cincinnati as well as a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters and a rabbinical diploma at HUC-JIR in 1967.
CCJR is honored to bestow its Shevet Achim posthumously to his widow, Myra Cohen Klenicki, on the occasion of the publication of Toward the Future: Essays on Catholic-Jewish Relations in Memory of Rabbi Leon Klenicki (Stimulus Books/Paulist Press).