Facing Tomorrow – the fourth Israeli Presidential Conference
was held at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem last week.
4500 participants came from around the world to attend and
dozens of press releases and blogs have been written on this mega-event.
Tiny 84-year-old Dr. Ruth Westheimer was a big hit with audiences.
One could say that Dr. Ruth, whose feet have trouble reaching the floor,
was even bigger and better than last year.
International guest panelists spoke of the future.
Retired Chief-of-Staff Gabi Ashkenazi was one of the few speakers
who spoke in Hebrew and was a popular presenter.
The session rooms were overcrowded and I could not get inside,
so I spent a lot of time walking the halls.
I spotted Abe Foxman, National Director of ADL giving an interview
and Natan Sharansky on his way to speak at a session.
During an opening plenary session, Ayaan Hirsi-Ali
shared some of her impressive life story and experiences of Islam.
In her talk she mentioned her age as 42; she smiled when I told her
that someone in the crowd tweeted that she looks more like 24.
Stanley Fisher (right), Governor of the Bank of Israel, is always popular.
The convention center was full of important people with important ideas.
But, due to his recent leg injury, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
did not speak at the closing session on Thursday.
There were three special sessions on Thursday for bloggers,
one was a question and answer session with President Shimon Peres.
Finally I had a chance to get in a session and have a good a seat.
But I did not attend the last day of Facing Tomorrow 2012.
Wednesday night I got the dreaded, but expected call
that my mother-in-law had passed away.
Ruth Brooks Spanglet z”l was born in America 89 1/2 years ago.
She never went to college,
but her two children earned post graduate degrees.
Her legacy includes twelve devoted grandchildren and
twenty-six great-grandchildren (with more on the way),
all of whom now must face a tomorrow without Bubby.
A friend of mine wrote a wonderful piece on what she found missing
at this conference of big names and creative ideas – the mention of family.
Families like Bubby’s are the real tomorrow and the hope for the future.
May all the mourners of Zion be comforted soon.