Keeping it in the Family

May 9, 2012 3:13 pm 0 comments

Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, keynote speaker of the ACCESS 20/20 Conference in Washington, D.C. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

When it comes to the Jewish people, says Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, it’s all in the family.

Speaking to an international gathering of the members of ACCESS, the Young Leadership Division of the American Jewish Committee, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Michael Oren, discussed the responsibilities and opportunities of being part of the Jewish family.  Introduced to the 400 participants from 30 countries by ACCESS National Chairman Matthew Bronfman, Oren began his pre-Shabbat address with conversation about the challenges to his immediate family –“big Israeli kids, with big Israeli problems.” Among these he listed rockets and roadblocks, housing and Haredim, the search for a true peace partner and the threat of a nuclear Iran – then reminded his international audience that they were part of the same Jewish family.

“Something is wrong here,” said Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren.  “When the UJA logo, “Am Ehad – we are one” is more likely to raise eyebrows than funds, the Jewish family is in trouble.  When Jews call for boycott of Israeli products because of a misplaced sense of caring about Israel, it becomes clear the Israelis inhabit a difference universe and face a different reality.”   Oren noted that while support for Israel in the United States “is at an all-time high, Jews seem to more divided.”  At stake, he said, is nothing less than the unity of the Jewish people.

Oren spoke about the tradition of mishpocha inherent to the Jewish people.  For millennia, he noted, Jews pulled together to protect one another in often hostile environments.  The Haschalah – Enlightenment – collapsed ghetto walls, and opened “a wellspring of creative energy” in the Jewish community.  It took the Holocaust to cause rethinking about Jewish peoplehood.”

“Who is pro-Israel?” asked the Ambassador.   “One who recalls Jewish life without the Jewish State, who   works for the Jewish State.  A pro-Israeli person understands that Israel must have ability to defend  itself, by itself and take pride in Israeli achievement.  A pro-Israel person appreciates that Israel alone cannot bring peace with the Palestinians.  The Palestinians have the responsibility to denounce terror and accept the legitimacy of a Jewish State of Israel.”

“We are a small people facing big problems,” cautioned Oren.  “We are a people,” emphasized the Ambassador.  “Peoplehood is the secret to our success.  It must be nurtured, strengthened and invigorated.”  There is, he assured, a place at our table for divergent groups.

“The nation state of the Jewish people is the reason d’etre on which the State of Israel is predicated.” When it comes to the Jewish people, says Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, it’s all in the family.

Matthew Bronfman (right), Chairman of the American Jewish Committee Young Leadership Division. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

Mathew Bronfman, philanthropist and business man, is Chairman of the AJC Young Leadership Division. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Commentary ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    Kosher Lust, by Shmuley Boteach (Gefen Publishing House, 2014). You really do want to find something positive to say about Shmuley Boteach. He is a phenomenon; very bright, an articulate bundle of energy and self-promotion. Anyone who has the chutzpah to describe himself as “America’s Rabbi” deserves ten out of ten for effort. I believe that along with most Chabad alumni, official and unofficial, he does a lot of good and is a sort of national treasure. In this world [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    JNS.org – In a throwback to the golden age of cinema, Hollywood has declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” From Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, to Russell Crowe playing Noah, Hollywood is gambling on new innovations in technology and star power to revisit some of the most popular stories ever told. “It’s definitely a throwback to the 1950s and early ’60s,” Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield, an American Studies professor at Brandeis University, told JNS.org. Starting with The [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    A Passover themed cover of hit songs Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman? from Disney’s Frozen has attracted tons of media buzz and a cool 65,ooo views on YouTube within days of going online. The work of Jewish a capella group Six13, the track is aptly named Chozen. We are celebrating “our freedom, our favorite festival, our fabulous fans, and aspiring Disney princesses everywhere” the group said. The Chozen music video tells the story of [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    JNS.org – Many young Jewish artists struggle to define who they are personally, artistically, and religiously. Against the backdrop of that struggle, the recent Asylum Arts International Jewish Artists Retreat provided a space for some 70 young Jewish artists to explore Jewish ideas, to build community and a culture of reciprocity, and to learn skills to assist their career development. “We are trying to encourage and excite people to engage in Jewish themes,” says Rebecca Guber, director of Asylum Arts. [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    JNS.org – Has the era of large-scale biblical epics returned? Not since “The Ten Commandments” has there been so much torrential water on the big screen (not counting weather-related disaster films such as “The Impossible”) than in “Noah,” the latest blockbuster from writer and director Darren Aronofsky. “Noah” takes the traditional tale and splices it in an eco-friendly and psychologically driven plot. After Adam and Eve got booted out of the Garden of Eden and after Cain killed Abel, mankind [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Israel Israeli Arab Microbiologist Wins on Israel’s ‘MasterChef’ Reality Show

    Israeli Arab Microbiologist Wins on Israel’s ‘MasterChef’ Reality Show

    JNS.org – An Israeli-Arab microbiologist and mother of three won the fourth season of Israel’s most popular reality TV show, “MasterChef.” Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, 32, who holds a PhD in microbiology and is from the Israeli-Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, described winning as the “the most exciting moment in her life.” She said she plans to use the prize money to open up an Arab-Jewish cooking school. MasterChef is a popular reality TV show that originated in the U.K. It is [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Theater Play About Muslim Man Who Discovers His Parents Are Jewish Seeking Funds

    Play About Muslim Man Who Discovers His Parents Are Jewish Seeking Funds

    Jewish comedian and writer David Baddiel is seeking public support to help produce a musical based on his film about a British Muslim man who discovers his parents are Jewish. London’s Theatre Royal Stratford East is in development to premiere The Infidel in October, London’s Evening Standard reported on Wednesday. However, the theater needs another £55,000 on top of around £200,000 already raised in order to produce the show. Baddiel, 49, retained the stage rights to the story when he wrote the [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.