The enemy that the National Conference of Christians and Jews must fight cannot be cured with a vaccine or a transplant and is the source behind the violence, terrorism, death and destruction we face in the world.
That enemy is hate, chairman Joseph Rosenblatt said Thursday night as the organization's Utah Chapter honored Utahns Debbie and Randy Fields during the NCCJ Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award Dinner in Salt Lake's Little America Hotel for exemplifying the organization's ideals.The National Conference of Christians and Jews is a national, non-sectarian organization established to eliminate prejudice and improve communication among conflicting groups, Rosenblatt said, and although the term "brotherhood" is difficult to define, the NCCJ works to build bridges of understanding among all groups.
To pay tribute to those in the community who also strive for a better world, the organization's Utah Chapter selects outstanding Utahns to honor for their service to the area and their devotion to the NCCJ principles.
This year the NCCJ honored the Fieldses. Debbie Fields is president of Mrs. Fields Cookies. Randy Fields is president of Riverview Financial Corp., Fields Investment Group and Fields Consulting Group.
The couple has donated more than $5 million in stock toward the research of children's diseases and the care of ill children in Utah, as well as $1 million to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
William N. Jones, Intermountain Health Care board chairman and dinner chairman, said the Fieldses have contributed greatly to Utah and have supported NCCJ principles through their efforts to offer help regardless of race, color or religion.
Mrs. Fields, with the encouragement of her husband, opened the first Mrs. Fields Cookies outlet 11 years ago in Palo Alto, Calif. Today, there are more than 700 outlets in the United States and in foreign countries.
"We are very proud to receive this award," Mrs. Fields said. "But you must remember that each time you've enjoyed Mrs. Fields Cookies, you're the one who's allowing us to give."
Randy Fields, a native Californian, said the couple has been fortunate to live in Utah.
"What Utahns fail to appreciate is that you make it possible for someone to come here and make a difference in the world," he said.
In addition to the award presented to the Fieldses, Rosenblatt was honored with the "Outstanding Friend to Children Award," presented by Darlene Gubler, president of the Utah Congress of Parents and Teachers.
The program included remarks from Melinda Silver, chosen as a Philadelphia Constitutional Youth Conference representative.
Silver said it is vital that Utahns mingle with members of other religions and get to know neighbors, regardless of religious affiliations.
"A change must come, and it must come now," Silver said. "We all have to get out and show we care and strive to create new and lasting friendships."
The program also included a musical performance by the Osmonds' Second Generation, a group made up of the sons of Alan Osmond, one of the original Osmond Brothers singers.
The National Conference of Christians and Jews was founded in the late 1920s as a group called the "Tolerance Trio," which included a priest, a minister and a rabbi. Although the name has changed, the goals have remained the same. The NCCJ is recognized for its contributions to educational programs such as "The Living Constitution" and "Democracy Is Us - Rights, Privileges and Risks."
In addition, the Utah Chapter supports the "Oral History Institute - The Ethnic and Minority Groups of Utah" and the Salt Lake Ministerial Association interfaith seminars.