Lynn Schusterman of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family foundation, while receiving the Jerusalem Builder Award last week, criticized the government’s controversial decision to renege on the Western Wall deal.

After accepting the award from Mayor Nir Barkat, Schusterman said, “People speak with renewed optimism and faith in Jerusalem that were unimaginable a few years ago, but in other ways it feels like we made no progress at all. You need look no further than the heartbreaking decision that happened here that threatened faith and value of religious freedom,” she said.

“As someone who loves Jerusalem and Israel with all of her heart, it is painful for me to see that my Jewishness and the Jewishness of so many of us here tonight may not be recognized in our homeland. We must stop this,” she added.

Her comments were expressed in front of the ROI Community, a group of young change-makers in a variety of fields, as the group wrapped up its five-day summit. The ROI group is a network of thousands of people “actively connecting to Jewish life in Israel through all kinds of different industries,” ROI executive director Justin Korda told The Jerusalem Post.

For Schusterman, speaking out against the Kotel deal in the Holy City was especially poignant, considering her emotional connection to the city that she considers her second home.

“Lynn’s dedication to the city is demonstrated by her unyielding commitment to the people of Jerusalem – especially to vulnerable populations and to building the next generation of Jewish leaders,” Barkat said as he explained why Schusterman is a worthy recipient of the award.

Schusterman’s contribution to the city includes her substantial support of organizations like the Beit Lynn Child Protection Center, the Jerusalem Open House and her matching grant program with the Israel Museum, among other initiatives.

Despite the setback caused by the deal, Schusterman encouraged the more than 300 ROI members to not give up the fight for an inclusive Jerusalem.

“Make no mistake – I’m not giving up and I’m counting on each and every one of you not to give up!”

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