Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

Balbir Singh reports on the Interfaith Banquet

Balbir Singh, “Sandy and Dennis receive CIC 2018 Interfaith Ambassadors of the Year award,” Punjab News Express March 20 2018

Rabbi Sandy Sasso and Rabbi Dennis Sasso were presented the 2018 Interfaith Ambassadors of the Year award at a glittering function organised by Center for Interfaith Cooperation Indianapolis Museum of Art here on Sunday. A large number of dignitaries graced the occasion. Congressman Andre Carson and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett were among those present on the occasion.

On behalf of the CIC, Waseema Ali and 2017 Interfaith Ambassador of the Year awardee Sister Norma Rocklage proclaimed Rabbi Sandy Sasso and Rabbi Dennis Sasso as 2018 Interfaith Ambassadors of the year. 2016 Interfaith Ambassador of the Year awardee KP Singh’s “artwork” was presented to Sandy and Dennis. World renowned artist and community leader KP Singh was also present. The program commenced with welcome address by CIC Executive Director Charlie Wiles.

In a message to CIC, Rabbinical Assembly Chief Executive Officer wrote:

I am honored to write a tribute to two beloved members of your community Rabbi Dennis Sasso and Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso. This opportunity to read Rabbi Dennis Sasso’s and Rabbi Sandy Sasso’s many accomplishments and contributions gives testimony not only to their own dedication, but the spirit of community and leadership that animates all of our work.


Rabbi Sandy Sasso made history when she became the first woman rabbi to lead a conservative congregation. She has served in many roles in community organizations such as the Gleaners Food Bank.

Rabbi Dennis Sasso has served the boards of numerous community and interfaith organizations. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Hispanic Center and Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis. 

The 2018 Interfaith Ambassadors of the Year award shines a wonderfully bright light on their many accomplishments.

CIC Board of Directors 2018 Chair Jane Gehlhausen in a message said:

The Sasso’s have been distinguished leaders in our community in so many facets. Their commitment to interfaith as well as our broader society sets an example to be followed by all. On behalf of CIC, Dennis and Sandy we are grateful and proud of your exemplary leadership and unwavering service to our community as we honor and celebrate your lifetime of work.

Congratulating CIC for hosting the function, Indiana Governor Eric J Holcomb in his message said:

Tonight we have a chance to honor two influential individuals who have impressed Hoosiers to come together by promoting awareness and diversity. Dennis and Sandy are truly two exemplary people. Their dedication has sparked action and strengthened relationships among people of different faiths throughout Indiana.

Senator Joe Donnelly wrote:

For more than 40 years, Dennis and Sandy have served Congregation Beth-El Zedeck and led countless Hoosier citizens through their spiritual guidance. As a rabbinical couple they have both given back to the community through their work in civic organizations and serving Hoosiers outside of the walls of the synagogue…….I congratulate them both on this well-deserved recognition and I wish them the best with their future endeavors.

Congratulating Sandy and Dennis, Senator Todd Young said

This honor is especially fitting, given your lifelong service and commitment to your congregation. Your service leadership is manifested in all the good works your congregation does on a daily basis in our state and local community:

Congratulating Sandy and Dennis, Congressman from 7th District of Indiana, Andre Carson said:

The impact that you have made in your congregation and throughout Indianapolis is immeasurable. Your work with various scholarly and academic societies reflects your strong passion for education and making a change in our communities.

Congresswoman from Fifth District Susan W Brooks said:

Dear Dennis and Sandy, I cannot think of two individuals more deserving of this honor and I am thrilled to learn that CIC chose you for the 2018 Award…. Hoosiers are fortunate to have your commitment and thoughtfulness dedicated to improving the quality of life for all. I am pleased to celebrate your honorable contributions and to toast your hard work and accomplishments.

Indianapolis Mayor Joseph H Hogsett said:

Tonight, it is especially my district honor to congratulate Rabbi Sandy Sasso and Rabbi Dennis Sasso, the 2018 Interfaith Ambassadors of the Year, for their incredible work on behalf of the interfaith community. Because of their leadership and pioneering spirit, Sandy and Dennis have vastly improved understanding and strengthened relations between people of different faith backgrounds in Central Indiana. I wish attendees, honorees and special guests all the best for an enjoyable evening.

Carmel Mayor James Brainard congratulated Sandy and Dennis on becoming the CIC Interfaith Ambassadors of the Year — an honor that is fitting and a testament to your dedication of helping build a thoughtful and welcoming community.

Congregation Beth- El Zedeck is a religious home to many Carmel residents and an integral part of our community. We have been greatful for your wise leadership and the many inspirational columns and books you have written.

Senator (Retd) Richard G Lugar in his message said:

It has been my privilege, over the years, to witness your abilities to meet a host of problems with consistent success. I regret that I cannot be with our on March 18 but my thoughts and prayers for your health and continuing strength will be with you on that occasion and for many days to come.

A large number of Indian-American attendees attended the function. Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis, KP Singh — KP Designs, Sikh Political Action Committee (chairman Gurinder Singh Khalsa) were among those who congratulated Sandy Sasso and Dennis Sasso on becoming the 2018 Interfaith Ambassadors of the Year. Dr Anita Joshi, Chiranjeev Kaur Oberoi, Dr Vimal Patel, Sonal Sanghani and Aarti Shah are on the 2018 Board of Directors
Photos and video by Balbir Singh and Parveen Kumar

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