The Gift of Giving: Humanists of the Year 2019

Rogatchi Foundation Humanist of Year Award based on Michael Rogatchi's Heart Song art work.

Rogatchi Foundation Humanist of the Year 2019 Laureates

There is a joyful tradition in Judaism when some of the Jewish holidays are celebrated for two and more days without disruption. In such cases, it is generally accepted among the observing people that we are living through one wholesome and uplifting day, would it be 48 or 72 hours long. 

What’s more, according to our sages, when we are doing something positive with a full devotion, conscious effort and being concentrated on creating more real, applied kindness, such periods of our lives also can be regarded as one wholesome day marked by increased positive and meaningful energy. This is truly graceful and uplifting experience. 

Importantly, it can be projected onto various walks of life and it can be perceived as universal humanistic concept.  

Our Rogatchi Foundation annually awards remarkable people from all over the globe for their outstanding humanism with Humanist of the Year Award. 

Humanist of the Year Award is manufactured in Finland from a solid piece of crystal rock of highest quality specially and exclusively for Rogatchi Foundation. The Award is based on the Michael Rogatchi’s Heart Song art work. 

Rogatchi Foundation Humanist of Year Award is based on Michael Rogatchi’s Heart Song art work. (C) Rogatchi Foundation.

Among our laureates are are world-famous architect, the author of POLIN Museum prof. Rainer Mahlamäki; outstanding musician maestro Evgeny Kissin; famous sculptor and philanthropist  Varda Yoran, widow of legendary Jewish anti-Nazi fighter in Poland Shalom Yoran who later had become one of the founders of Israeli aviation industry; world authority on rare diseases, founder of the Italian National Il Volo di Pegaso Arts, Literature and Music Award, chair of the International Rare Disease Research Consortium prof. Domenica Taruscio, and many other outstanding humanists of our time. 

Every year, the Foundation Board considers multiplied nominees, all are incredibly worthy people who did contribute to the vital causes and who did it in emphatically humanistic way. As a rule, our laureates share one common trait of character: they all are organically modest people motivated in life by real aims, never by vanity. 

This year, in an exceptional motto, all our Awards are given for Life Long Achievements. We found it symbolic, important and encouraging. 

All of these great people are founders of remarkable organisations, new in its concept and original of its key idea. All of them did manage to work remarkably well with new generations and succeeded in bringing in the new leaders of their organisations who will take the lead in the way logical and consequent. 

Our board found the latest circumstance as emphatically important. We regard it as principal achievement not in an academic but in a very practical way. The Silver Thread just should not be broken. The wise people who did manage to take care on this in time and successfully, are adding to their personal existing contributions in a great measure, with assuring the future. What can be more important? 

Traditionally, our Foundation is focusing its attention on crucial but not that obvious, especially in practice,  symbiosis of culture and science, arts and medicine, care for human life and dignity, with giving top priority to the contributions into the humanity which I call a principal vitamin of life. 

Our laureates for this year are remarkable personalities from the United States, Great Britain and Finland. They are  legendary military and renowned theologists, well-known artist ( posthumously), unparalleled spiritual singer and musician, outstanding physician. 

All of them have founded widely known and highly reputed public charitable organisations: The JerUSAlem Connection ( Washington D.C.), Shabbaton Choir ( London, UK), and Aamu ( Morning) Foundation ( Finland). All of them contributed and still contributing in the life of society in powerful and exemplary humanistic way. 

About each of them a book or two could be written. Some of such book exists, but it is clearly not enough. 

We are proud to be able to honour them.

When a bus had been blown up on Dizengoff Street in Tel-Aviv in 1994 killing twenty one people, legendary American general James M. Hutchens with full support of his brave wife artist Pat Mercer Hutchens went to action. They bought what was left of the bus blown up by the Palestinian terrorists, and did organise, on their own and those people who did join them, expense shipping the blown bus all the way from Tel-Aviv to Washington D.C. The next thing they did, it was to organise a permission – which is not that easy in the heart of the US power – to install the charred blown bus from Tel-Aviv just in front of the American Congress. They continued to make many manifestations and gatherings  in front of that bus to influence the American public and lawmakers’ opinion to support human life and to fight, resist and oppose terrorism actively, in deeds, not just words. 

This is very telling but just one episode from a long and noble life of the former Deputy Chaplain of the US Army General Hutchens and his late wife, soulful and thoughtful artist Pat Mercer Hutchens who did put her open heart into her artistic re-visiting famous The Auschwitz Album ( which is preserved at Yad Vashem), for evoking people’s compassion to the victims of the Shoah. This is a unique contribution in the cause of humanity. 

Brigadier General , the U.S. Army ( Ret) JAMES M.HUTCHENS and PAT MERCER HUTCHENS ( posthumously), USA:  Life Achievement Award for establishing and long-term running outstanding humanist organisation. 

Brigadier General, the US Army ( Ret). JAMES M. HUTCHENS. (C) with kind permission The JerUSAlem Connection.

Brigadier General James M. Hutchens, legendary American hero awarded two Purple Hearts and many other decorations for his unprecedented valour and distinguished service, had been Deputy Chaplain of the US Army. After his retirement in middle 1990s, General Hutchens has established The JerUSAlem Connection, very well-known and highly respected national organisation of Christian Zionists in Washington D.C. with impeccable record of unwavering support of human life, dignity and stern moral values. Dr Pat Mercer Hutchens ( 1937-2014) was a well-known American artist who had re-visited the Auschwitz Album ( a unique document preserved in Yad Vashem)  in creating unique artistic and humanistic quest into the Shoah effect on the human soul. 

Pat Mercer Hutchens and James M. Hutchens. (C) with kind permission The JerUSAlem Connection.

Extraordinary people, James and Pat Hutchens were inseparable couple and true soul-mates. For many decades, together they were and James is still  pursuing the active establishing of knowledge, action, and most of all, noble compassion towards the victims of oppression. 

The Hutchens’ contribution into active dissemination of light is unparalleled. They did succeed in founding, building up, and running exemplary organisation that has become synonyms of truth, valour, and moral responsibility. They also did brilliantly manage to raise up the new generation of the people involved in the running their important organisation, thus assuring the legacy of goodness and humanity. 

Art Prize for Brig. General JAMES M. HUTCHENS: 

Inna Rogatchi (C). Life in Praying. Homage to Pat Mercer Hutchens. Shining Souls: Champions of Humanity project. Watercolour, crayons a encre on original archival print on cotton paper. 70 x 50 cm. 2019.

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When hundreds if not thousands of French Jewry flew to London escaping aggressive escalated anti-Semitism there several years ago, Western Marble Arch Synagogue in London under Rabbi Lionel Rosenfeld’s leadership did open their doors and hearts to all those people who needed a home for re-settling their spiritual life badly. Rabbi Rosenfeld and his team set up new for their Synagogue and community additional Sephardic praying group, took care on all necessary arrangements and accommodated them warmly and family-like. The same could be said about just incredibly amiable and so very naturally friendly relations of that exceptional Synagogue in the heart of London with their colleagues from Chabad which is not always the case in so many places world-wide, as we all know. 

For years, this exceptional Singing Rabbi was leading his community in their outstanding support and special program called Peace of Mind to rehabilitate, in so many subtle ways, hundreds of soldiers and officers from the Tzahal who were in need of it, often even without being able to recognise or formulate it.

In everything he does, being supported by his wonderful wife Rebbetzin Natalie and their fantastic 22-members’ family all living in Israel, Rabbi Rosenfeld is incredibly understated. When an outstanding man’s personal style is his utter modesty, there is no better living example on how life should be lived, indeed.

Rabbi Lionel known widely as Singing Rabbi did earn this title in a full measure. For more than 30 years, he leads outstanding Shabbaton Choir that travels world-wide giving wondrous concerts, and produces many great recordings which has become a valuable part of our common modern heritage of spiritual arts. What defines Shabbaton it is their modernity, their interest to do more and more of the new music, new arrangements, new thoughts and ideas – behind which so very often is the same man of a huge talent, shrewd intelligence and great wit: 

Senior Rabbi LIONEL ROSENFELD, London, UK: Life Achievement Award for outstanding contribution into spiritual arts and public service. 

Rabbi Lionel Rosenfeld leads a choir. (C) with kind permission, WMA Synagogue, London.

Senior Rabbi of Western Marble Arch Synagogue in London, UK, Lionel Rosenfeld is also a co-founder and leader of the world-famous Shabbaton Choir. For decades, Lionel is combining his superb services in the leading London Synagogue which is known as ‘World Jewry’s London Address’ with his deep and wide musical activities, from composing and arranging spiritual music, from the classics to very modern one, to heading his outstanding Choir on their tours all over the world, from Australia to Germany where they are bringing to many thousands of people, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, their brilliancy, beauty, and devotion. Rabbi Rosenfeld is also a magnet for engaging, enlightening, active and highly positive large Jewish community in the heart of London, the community which is opened to everyone and which treats people from all walks of life with love, smile, understanding, and friendship. 

In Rabbi Lionel  Rosenfeld world is happy to find a unique combination of incredible artistic and musical talent, sharpest intellect and open heart that embraces people indiscriminately and engages them in generations. He is a true Ambassador of Goodness in its talented and engaging way world-wide. 

Artistic Prize for Rabbi LIONEL ROSENFELD:

Michael Rogatchi (C). The Way of Jewish People. Indian Ink, oil pastels on dark-blue cotton paper. 40 x 70 cm. 2017.

* * * *

When parents of so many children ill with mortal disease nervously rushed to the certain department in the certain hospital in Finland, at least part of their anxiety was always successfully calmed down because they knew that their child is treated by the one of the possibly best doctors in the world and is attended by his great team of soul-mates. We were observing the outstanding work of leading Finnish and international paediatric oncologist professor Toivo T. Salmi for many years and several decades. Lead by him Children Oncology Department of the justly famed University Clinic in Turku, Finland is a champion of fighting cancer among its most vulnerable patients, kids, doing it with love, understanding, tireless care, day and night alerts, latest discoveries of international science and exceptional combination of mind and heart exemplified in this another emphatically modest man of great brilliancy, Professor Toivo T. Salmi.

After long – and one should think, quite exhausting – career, professor Salmi did not switch into a calm of pensioner life. Immediately after his retirement in mid 2000s, he set up a very unusual task: to speed up the treatment of children with cancer by establishing new in principle organisation that would help to the doctors and scientists to work efficiently, much quicker than they were able to do under the circumstances of stiff bureaucracy in medical data sharing  processes. 

His new Foundation’s name was Aamu, Morning. Without fuss but with efficient management and brilliant ideas and pioneering vision, Aamu Foundation in rather quick pace was able to improve the process that now enables doctors to treat their small patients in the speed that merciless illness requires.  Without Professor Salmi’s unique vision, and most importantly, his devoted caring nothing of that would be possible. His life-record is active saving many lives daily, for decades, absolutely tirelessly and selflessly.

Professor TOIVO T. SALMI, Finland – Life Achievement Award for outstanding contribution in saving children’s lives.

Professor Toivo T. Salmi, leading Finnish paediatric oncologist, founder of Aamu Foundation. (C) with kind permission, Toivo T. Salmi.

 Professor Toivo T. Salmi is a world-renowned authority in paediatric oncology who had been leading the Department of Paediatric Oncology at the well-known University Hospital of Turku, TYKS, Finland, for many decades. TYKS is one of the 28 best clinics of Europe, and to get to this most authoritative official list ( there are only two clinics in very medically advanced Finland on the medical top 28 European list), clinics ought to have a star specialists like doctor Salmi. His professional record is impeccable and incredibly impressive. He and his teams had work with unprecedented devotion, rare understanding and care, day and night, literally, to improve the rate of successful fighting cancer among its most vulnerable victims, children’s patients, for decades. The result of prof. Salmi’s professional career would speak on itself loudly and cheerfully in thousands of saved lives. 

Art Award for prof. TOIVO T. SALMI: 

Inna Rogatchi (C). Life Song I. Watercolour, crayons a encre, hand-applied pigment of gold on original archival print on cotton paper. 70 x 50 cm. 2019.

All our laureates are Humanists with a big H, and it is due to their entire life, their attitude, their giant and tireless effort on a daily basic that the world has got such a special portion of goodness and kindness, making it in some peak moments or crucial periods, a wholesome Day of Light. 

December 27, 2019

About the Author
Inna Rogatchi is internationally acclaimed writer, scholar and film-maker, the author of widely prized film on Simon Wiesenthal The Lessons of Survival. Her professional trade-mark is inter-weave of history, culture and mentality. She is the author of the concept of the Outreach to Humanity cultural and educational projects conducted internationally by The Rogatchi Foundation of which Inna is the co-founder and President. She is the wife of the world renowned artist Michael Rogatchi. Inna's family is related to the famous Rose-Mahler musical dynasty. Her professional interests are focused on Jewish heritage, Holocaust and post-Holocaust, arts and culture. She is twice laureate of the Italian Il Volo di Pegaso Italian National Art, Literature and Music Award, the Patmos Solidarity Award, and the New York Jewish Children's Museum Award for Outstanding Contribution into the Arts and Culture (together with her husband). Inna Rogatchi is the member of the Board of the Finnish National Holocaust Remembrance Association.
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