The Cult Observer
Jonestown Memorial Awards to New York Educator,
Cult Observer Report
November 21, 1986
Two New Yorkers were recipients yesterday of the Jonestown Memorial
Award, given each year in memory of victims of the murder/suicides in Guyana of more than
900 Peoples Temple followers of Rev. Jim Jones.
Honored at the Church Center of the United Nations by the New
York/New Jersey affiliate of the Cult Awareness Network for their work in alerting the
public to the dangers of destructive cults, and assisting the victims, were Dr. Philip D.
Abramowitz, Director of the Jewish Community Relations Councils Task Force on
Missionaries and Cults, and Arnold Markowitz, C.S.W., Director of the Cult Hotline and
Clinic of the Jewish Board of Family and Childrens Services.
Remarks made by the presenters at the award ceremony, New York
writer Marcia Rudin and social worker William Goldberg both of whom are well known
nationally for their own work in the field emphasized that both honorees more than
deserved the recognition that was finally being accorded them.
Dr. Abramowitz, who was appointed to head the JCRC Task Force almost
five years ago, during a time of particularly heavy cult activity in the New York City
area, has developed and implemented educational programs for young people, adults, and
professionals that have become permanent parts of the organized response to the continuing
problem posed by cults to individuals and families in the vast metropolitan area. Dr.
Abramowitz also took a leading role in the creation of the New York Interfaith Coalition
of Concern About Cults, a broad-based cooperative endeavor involving major religious
denominations that has magnified greatly the work of the JCRC and other local service
Arnold Markowitz founded the JBRFCS hotline and clinic and has led
his agencys effort to devise and deliver effective counseling and therapy to
individuals and families non-Jewish as well as Jewish trying to deal with
the devastating psychological and social problems often caused by cult involvement. Mr.
Markowitz has also written articles on counseling in the cult area and on the nature and
causes of child abuse in cultic settings.
In accepting the Jonestown Memorial Award, both recipients gave
special thanks to their colleagues and agencies. Dr. Abramowitz also referred especially
to his parents, who attended the ceremony, while Mr. Markowitz singled out his wife, also
in attendance, for putting up in good spirit with the uncounted intrusions into private
family time which the work of a mental health professional so often entails.
The Cult Observer