Interfaith Bridge Builder Award Recipient 2023
Simeon M. Kriesberg is currently the longest serving member of the IFC Board of Directors. He has served since 1989. During his years at IFC, Simeon has served in all the major officer positions and chaired a number of committees. He has also established friendships with members of every other IFC faith community. His institutional knowledge and vision for IFC have shaped IFC’s work for decades.
For all these years, Simeon has been patiently but persistently building bridges among religious, racial, and ethnic groups in the Washington area and building institutions in the Jewish community. His work extended beyond IFC to address a variety of interfaith causes and initiatives. He spoke before many other faith communities, including Hindu, Muslim, Protestant, Sikh, and others.
Simeon served as President of AJC Washington from 2015 to 2017, setting interfaith relations as a top priority. AJC honored Simeon with its two most significant awards, the Learned Hand Award in 2010 for distinction in the legal profession and service to the community and the Hyman Bookbinder Award in 2022 for the advancement of AJC’s mission. He serves on AJC’s national Legal Committee and previously served on the national Interreligious Affairs Steering Committee. During the pandemic, Simeon facilitated for AJC Washington a virtual weekly Torah study group called “On One Foot.”
Simeon also has served as director and officer of the Edlavitch D.C. Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, and Washington Hebrew Congregation. He received the President’s Award from the DCJCC and the Avodah Award from WHC in recognition of his service to those institutions and the broader community.
Simeon practiced law for 40 years before his retirement at the end of 2017. He was a nationally recognized counselor focusing on the application of U.S. laws to the international movement of goods, services, finance, and capital. His award-winning pro bono service included: drafting a constitution for the Kingdom of Nepal to aid in its transition to a constitutional monarchy; persuading the United States Government to rescind sanctions regulations that barred Iranian dissidents from commercial activities necessary for them to publish in the United States; and gaining asylum for a Saudi woman, the victim of domestic abuse, on the novel grounds that her Muslim beliefs were being oppressed by her husband.
Simeon and his wife, Martha L. Kahn, are the parents of Micah and Skye.