The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) announced the election of Houston attorney and community leader Marvin D. Nathan as its new National Chair. Founder of the law firm Nathan Sommers Jacobs, Mr. Nathan has been actively involved with ADL for more than three decades.
He was elected to serve a three-year term as National Chair during ADL’s 2015 annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, where the gavel was passed from outgoing National Chair Barry Curtiss-Lusher.
“ADL’s moral authority, expertise and resources are in great demand in today’s volatile, fast paced and complicated world, and ADL is needed as much today if not more than when ADL was founded in 1913,” Mr. Nathan said in his remarks accepting the chairmanship. “The evil of anti-Semitism and injustice is never-ending and combating that evil remains the underlying challenge of our faith and our more than century-old mission.”
Mr. Nathan becomes the 19th National Chair of the organization founded in 1913 with a mandate to fight anti-Semitism and discrimination of all forms.authority, expertise and resources are in great demand in today’s volatile, fast paced and complicated world, and ADL is needed as much today if not more than when ADL was founded in 1913,” Mr. Nathan said in his remarks accepting the chairmanship. “The evil of anti-Semitism and injustice is never-ending and combating that evil remains the underlying challenge of our faith and our more than century-old mission.”
In his many years of work with ADL, Mr. Nathan has held a series of prominent national leadership positions. He has chaired the civil rights, planning and religious freedom task force committees, as well as the Southwest Regional Board. Since 1999, he has been a member of ADL’s National Commission and National Executive Committee, the League’s highest policymaking bodies. He first joined the ADL Houston regional board in 1985.
In 2003, he was honored with ADL’s Karen H. Susman Jurisprudence Award, and during ADL’s centennial year in 2013 he received the ADL Centennial Award in recognition of his contributions in fighting anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination in America.
“I look forward to working closely with Marvin over the next three years,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO. “From his incredible work locally in Houston over the years, to his tireless efforts to help ADL carry out its mission nationally, he has been a tremendous longtime advocate for critical civil rights issues with a steadfast desire to combat hate in all its forms. Marvin always has had the safety and security of the Jewish people and State of Israel at the forefront of his mind, and I am exceptionally eager to begin working with him in his new role.”
Houstonians who have worked with Mr. Nathan said his election to National Chair is fitting and will be valuable not only to ADL, but to people and institutions touched by ADL. “We are thrilled that Marvin has ascended to the highest lay leader position in ADL, as its National Chair,” said ADL Southwest Regional Chair Ian Scharfman. “It is not only a well-deserved honor, but also recognizes Marvin’s decades of service to ADL and our mission. He is truly treasured locally and throughout the country.”
Southwest Region Senior Associate Director Jodi Bernstein agreed. “Marvin has been one of our region’s most passionate and dedicated advocates championing justice and equality for all and stopping the defamation of the Jewish people. His leadership has benefited our region for more than 30 years and we are thrilled he will now serve as ADL’s national chair where his vision, expertise and passion can benefit our country.”
Mr. Nathan is a graduate of the University of Houston Law Center. Near the end of his law studies, he heard the U.S. Solicitor General speak about the civil rights movement and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which motivated him to become a trial lawyer in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Shortly thereafter, in 1970, he founded the firm Nathan Sommers Jacobs, which today is primarily focused on practicing real estate and general business organization law.
Mr. Nathan has been active in community and philanthropic work in the Houston area for many years. He is a supporter of the University of Houston and the University of Houston Law Center. The University awarded him its Volunteer of the Year Award in 1995 and its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2008. The Law Center awarded him its Volunteer of the Year Award in 1994, the Law Alumni Association President’s Award in 1991, the Dean’s Award in 1993 and 2004, and the Alumnus of the Year Award in 1997. In addition, the Marvin D. Nathan Fellowship at the University of Houston Law Center benefits ADL annually.