• Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor my close friend Tom Neumann, a thoughtful, dedicated and respected leader who served as an example for all those who wish to make a meaningful, positive change in our world. Sadly, Tom passed away this week, on September 9, at the age of 69. I extend my deepest condolences to his wife, Agnes, and his entire family.
  • For more than 30 years, Tom served to help end anti-Semitism, to safeguard democratic principles and to build understanding and support for Israel. He previously served as the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) Southwest Regional Director, ADL's National Director of Community Services and its National Director of the Intergroup Relations Division. At ADL, Tom worked to build friendships and working relationships between Christian and Jewish clergy under the Christian-Jewish Committee for Israel. It was during this time that I traveled to Israel with Tom and when I observed first-hand about the challenges that Israel faces each day and why America must always stand with this ally.
  • Tom later joined B'nai B'rith International as Executive Vice President where he created a presence for the organization in the USSR and Eastern Europe, an important feat and the first to happen since World War II. In 1991, he served as the Executive Director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), where he worked until his retirement in 2012. As Executive Director, Tom helped establish JINSA as a prominent voice for U.S. national security ties as well as U.S.-Israel security ties. Through his leadership, he helped JINSA grow its membership to over 20,000 individuals. His writings on the U.S.-Israel bilateral relationship were published in outlets across the world. For his work, he was recognized as the ``6th Most Influential Jewish Leader'' by The Forward in 1999. Locally, Tom founded The Houston Center for International Affairs, a business form that focused on international and economic issues, created the Christian/Jewish Committee for Israel, a coalition of inter-denominational clergy who support Israel), and Texas 1990, a dinner discussion group of religious, business and community leaders.
  • Tom was someone who believed that ``people, even more than causes and things, have to be restored, renewed and reclaimed.'' To those he worked with, he was a friend and mentor. Always kind, always sincere, always focused. To our entire community in Houston, he will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathies to the entire Neumann family.
  • And that's just the way it is.