Israeli Presidential Conference Tomorrow 2013

The Israeli Presidential Conference, Facing Tomorrow

was attended by 5000 people this year,

many coming from around the world to Jerusalem, Israel.

This year started with a special 90th birthday celebration

for President Shimon Peres serranaded by Barbra Streisand.

Opening night tickets were harder to get then to the Obama speech.

But the long program was available on-line to watch.

As the motorcades were finally going by after it ended,

and I was already getting into bed, 

I was sure I had had a great seat.

image Tony Blair

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair followed Shimon Peres,

photo President Bill Clinton in Jerusalem

and then former US President Bill Clinton entered the opening plenary.

cell phones as cameras image

Phones and cameras were out to catch 

photo Shimon Peres and Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton get the Israeli President’s special medal and award.

Over two days there were too many speakers and dignitaries to list.

I was disappointed that somehow I kept missing

Prince Albert of Monaco, but maybe I just did not recognize him?

A few of the most popular presenters included:

Dr David Augus image

Dr David Augus from California,

Dan Arielly image

Prof. Dan Arielly,

Image Ayaan Hirsi-Ali

and once again Ayaan Hirsh-Ali.

Image Yair Lapid

New to Israeli politics and this program was MK Yair Lapid. 

image cameras ready for Sharon Stone

But the serious press attendance and cameras came out

photo Sharon Stone

for Hollywood actress Sharon Stone,

photo Shimon Peres and Sharon Stone

Shimon Peres and Sharon Stone.

photo Robert DeNiro

And also from Hollywood Robert DeNiro.

Image Rav David Stav

Rav David Stav got a little attention in the halls.

John Baird image

At least Arutz 7 noticed John Baird, the Foreign Minister from Canada.

photo Manfred Gerstenfeld

 But how many paid attention to Manfred Gerstenfeld?

image Irwin Cotler

At least my friend was also excited to see Canadian Irwin Cotler.

Image Dr Ruth

And as always everyone was excited to be seen with Dr Ruth!

If you do not know all these names, take time to look them up,

 I decided not to link to poor Wiki information.

But what about this conference called Tomorrow,

when most of these names are so yesterday?

photo Tim Armstrong and Yussi VArdi

Tim Armstrong and Yossi Vardi may have come up with a new plan.

But, there were two things that really do stand out for tomorrow.

As at past conferences the Hebrew University exhibit,

image MRI exhibit

   was bigger and better, their brain research simply mind boggling.

But I would like to end with my favorite scene of Facing Tomorrow.

Image young men working on tech projects

These five young men, ages 15 to 19,

are already involved in tech and start-ups.

This time of year the real streets are so busy and full

of end of year graduations, from gan to University,

they are the real tomorrow.

Reflections on Tomorrow 2012

 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.


Remembering Tomorrow 2011

It is too hot to be outside.

The news of more terror attacks from Egypt are distressing.

The reports of the Egyptian presidential results are depressing.

The fourth Israeli Presidential Conference – Facing Tomorrow 2012,

opens at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem tomorrow.

So today seemed like a good time to remember last year’s conference.

"picture Shakira", "image Shakira", photo Shakira"

At the opening press conference President Shimon Peres called Shakira 

“Sharika”…I still have to stop and think, so as not to repeat the mistake.

"picture Sarah Silverman", "photo Sarah Silverman", "image Sarah Silverman"

On the opening night, Sarah Silverman stole the show,

showing that she was a comedian with brains.

"picture Jonathon Sacks'" ,"photo Rabbi Sacks","image Chief Rabbi Sacks"

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks called anti-Semitism a virus:

the oldest virus of hate that is spread today by the internet.

"photo Rabbi Sacks", "image chief rabbi Sacks", "picture J Sacks"

“Holocaust happens when language debases happenings,” he warned.

History shows hate begins with Jews, but it does not end with them.

A year later his words are even more insightful.

"picture Peres", "image Pres Peres",

I spotted President Shimon Peres more than once

moving quickly from session to session.

"picture Jimmy Wales", "photo Jimmy Wales", Image Jimmy Wales"

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales was a featured speaker.

It is still distressing to me that some Arabic entries found in Wikipedia,

  are very different from the English ones.

In Arabic, the only connection of the Jews to the “Wailing Wall”

is that they tried to buy it twice and failed.

"photo Dr Ruth", "image Doctor Ruth", "picture Dr Ruth'

Popular ‘Dr Ruth’ Westheimer often got stopped in the halls.

She is on the schedule again this year.. and yes, she really is short.

"picture lab students', photo HU students", "image lab coats'

A favorite of mine were the students from the Hebrew University labs.

  Those doing studies on the blind loved to show

their sensor invention that makes a walking stick obsolete.

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu was one

of the speakers at the conclusion of the conference.

At some popular sessions there were lines waiting to enter,

and once inside the room there was standing room only.

Lucky for me Mohammad Dajani got up and walked out 

"photo Nir Barkat", "image Jerusalem mayor'. Picture mayor Jerusalem"

 when Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat spoke of his vision for Jerusalem,

so I got a seat in the crowded room.

"photo Bibi" , "image Bibi netanyahu', "picture Bibi"

Facing Tomorrow… more on Tomorrow 2012 tomorrow.