Standing up and speaking out

There I was in Israel this week, expecting to participate in some interesting but uneventful meetings, meet some of our partners on the ground, maybe share a nice meal with colleagues.
I didn’t expect to be lobbying in the Knesset, to be interviewed on national radio, or to be working with mayors and partners on our response. Yet that’s precisely what I did.

I’m sure that many of you have been following the news from Israel – the Government decision to move the conversion bill forward and to freeze/cancel the hard-negotiated compromise on an egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel.

So in addition to some incredible and inspiring meetings with our partners on the ground, and seeing the awesome platforms we have built in Negba, I have spent significant time dealing with the political ramifications and repercussions of the government’s actions. I was blessed and fortunate to be with Lori Klinghoffer and to benefit from her guidance and counsel, and our terrific professionals on the ground, Amir Shacham and Michal Zur.

Here are some of my Facebook updates:

(1) On Monday morning I led an initiative for Federation Execs to refuse to meet with PM Netanyahu and to not attend the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) dinner with him. You can see that here. A short time later the JAFI Board came to the same conclusion.

(2) A few hours later, Lori and I shot a short video in Jerusalem explaining our initial reaction. The video was shared by dozens of others, and seen by thousands. You can see our video here.

(3) Lori, Amir, and I were lobbying at the Knesset on Tuesday morning (will update more on that later). You can see a video that Amir and I shot outside the Knesset building here. (Be sure to scroll down to the comments to see the bit that got cut off.)

(4) If you want to see the most uplifting thing that happened to me all week, the moment in which I literally and metaphorically refueled, click here.

(5)On Wednesday morning, between visits to the new massive Sharon Training Base and our partners in Negba and religious pluralism, I was interviewed on Israel Army Radio. For the Hebrew-speakers among us, click on this link and go to minute 32 or so, and youll hear the interview.

(6) My final thoughts, at the airport, and what it all meant for me. (Click on See More at the right of the photo to read the whole piece.)

You can see our Jewish Federation's statement on the Kotel/conversion issue here, signed by dozens of community rabbis. This week we have an awe-inspiring Women’s Philanthropy mission AND our Wexner cohort on the ground in Israel. We have mayors and community leaders who are sending us messages of support and love. We have an incredible plan for our commUNITY mission next year. And we have you. What could be better?


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