From Jerusalem, Education Uniting and Empowering

From Jerusalem, Education Uniting and Empowering

Another incredible week in Jerusalem, Israel, as tens of thousands filled hotels and their buses made their way through the Jerusalem streets.

Unity Prize Awards at Beit Hanasi in Jerusalem Israel

The Unity Prizes were awarded at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence. With the Gesher Foundation and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, the Fraenkel, Ifrach and Shaar families initiated these awards four years ago.

The families of the three murdered teens Eyal, Yifrach, and Naftali z”l wanted to find a meaningful way to express their appreciation for the unity and support they felt during those difficult days.

Unity Prize founders three families Fraenkel, Ifrach and Shaar at Beit Hanasi for Unity Awards Ceremony

The program was held in the main hall and included music and entertainment, with the families and prize winners filling the room.

Boca Florida winner of Unity Prize in Jerusalem Israel at Israeli President House

Boca Florida won a prize for Jewish Engagement, unity in Jewish education. Representatives from Florida came to Jerusalem to receive their award.

Unity Prize winners.

Other winners were Runners without Borders, TEC Center, Koolulam, and a special Global life achievement went to Birthright.

Three video clips were included in last week’s Shabbat Shalom greeting. They can be seen HERE.  

Soon after I left Beit Hanasi, there was another event in the gardens of OneFamily.

One Family hosts Rudy Giuliani in Jerusalem Israel

Photo ops with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani were popular that night.

OneFamily guest Rudy Giuliani poses for photo on way out of One Family dinner event

Giuliani was mayor at the time of September 11 terror attack. He spoke of dealing with victims of terror in the aftermath and emphasized the good and important work of OneFamily helping victims of terror in Israel.

Not all of his remarks would be considered politically correct, but here is one short clip on Arafat and the PLO.

Jerusalem Israel, President's house garden with busts of former presidents and Theodore Herzl

Beit Hanasi, as usual, was a busy place all week. The presidential gardens were ready for numerous international guests.

AJC Board of Governors line up to enter Beit Hanasi in Jerusalem Israel

The leadership of American Jewish Committee (AJC) lined up so politely to enter. Should I confess that I smiled and went in the other door to bypass the line?

Bedouin Ahlam Alsana speaking at ICC for AJC in Jerusalem Israel

At AJC closing plenary, one of the many faces of Israel, Ahlam Alsana, stressed the importance of education in her remarks.

Shavuah HaSefer at First Station Jerusalem Israel

For locals, it was the annual Shavuah Hasefer, Hebrew Book Week, again held in First Station. As every year, thousands of volumes were for sale, attracting young and old.

Jerusalem Israel actors at First Station

A volunteer student theater group performed as families gathered before the entry gate opened.

Jerusalem Israel First Station

After their performance, confetti covered the ground and the actor/painter was back at his easel at work.

Another “you never know what you will find” scene for sure.

School end of year performance in Jerusalem Israel

You never know what you will find at those end of school year performances filling schedules in June. Mega events, with professional staging and lights, lasting well into the night – for elementary school. Interesting, as college graduations in Israel are so low key compared to US.

Jerusalem Israel Orient Isrotel

The new Orient Hotel was the scene of a gala dinner celebrating the 80th year of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz and Steinsaltz Center contribution to education.

Books of Adin Steinsaltz

What other dinner gala featured a wall of impressive books, under the authorship of one person?

Rav Adin Steinsaltz with son and grandson enter gala tribute for his 80th birthday in Jerusalem Israel

Rabbi Steinsaltz was escorted into the full banquet hall by his son and grandson.

Singer Avraham Fried in Jerusalem, Israel for Steinsaltz Gala in honor of Rav Adin 80th birthday

Popular singer Avraham Fried gave a powerful performance.

Eightieth birthday Rav Adin Steinsaltz in Jerusalem Israel

The key note speaker was Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who spoke about power and knowledge.

To end with some inspiration, take two minutes and listen to a brief clip from his insightful remarks.

So much is happening in Jerusalem.

Israel Festival has ended. Jerusalem Design Week has begun.

Then on June 27, begins another week of the annual Light Festival in the Old City.

But for this week if there was one overshadowing theme, it was that education is the key.

Education should be everyone’s birthright, not only the privileged.

Am Yisrael Chai.

One Night at 26th Jerusalem Book Fair

The Jerusalem International Book Fair has been around for 50 years.

The last one held at the Jerusalem International Convention Center

 was very impressive,  so it was no surprise to once again see 

Jerusalem Book Fair photo, Jerusalem photo tours

the huge halls filled with books and people.

Jerusalem book fair pictures, Jerusalem photo walk

Not just English and Hebrew books, but magazines and digital texts,

Jerusalem book fair photo, Jerusalem photos

from countries and languages all around the world.

Jerusalem book fair picture

The variety of presenters

Jerusalem book fair photo, Jerusalem picture

and visitors was, as always, vast and impressive.

And as in the past, there were many literary cafes and lectures,

all open to public and free of charge.

This year the interest in one event stood out from all the rest.

Jerusalem book fair,

Hundreds of people were not allowed up the stairs

Jerusalem book fair image crowd

and even a few who did get up were stopped by another red barrier.

If this had been a soccer match or concert, there would have been a riot,

as those who arrived on time were so angry not to be allowed in.

But this event was called “The Leader, The Rabbi and The Professor” 

in honor of the publication of “Radical Responsibility:

Celebrating the Thought of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks”

and featured Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom Lord Jonathan Sacks,

Professor Moshe Halbertal of the Hebrew University, 

and Rabbi Dr. Binyamin Lau of Kehillat Ramban in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem book fair speakers

First speaker was Rabbi Lau, followed by

Professor Halbertal, seated on the far left, both of whom spoke in English.

Chief Rabbi Sacks in Jerusalem, photo rabbi, Jerusalem book fair

So when Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks began in Hebrew,

the crowd was a bit surprised, but he soon switched to English too.

Jerusalem book fair crowd

And what a crowd it was, as there was not an empty chair.

Jerusalem book fair image

Interesting was the number of young people who came early and got seats.

young boy watching video

This young man in the back of the room found a comfortable spot,

but did not seem too interested in the speakers and did not stay for long.

Jerusalem book fair

So to my friends who were outside and did not have a press pass to get in:

Look at the sea of people who arrived before you and did get in.

Jerusalem book fair crowd

The room was hot and crowded, but

 people were smiling and laughing as Rabbi Sacks finished his remarks.

Jerusalem book fair image

Some in the audience ran out as soon as possible,

but many crowded around to get photos

Chief rabbi Sacks at book fair

and Rabbi Sacks’ autograph in their newly purchased book.

Jerusalem book fair

On the way out, Professor Halbertal

Jerusalem book fair photo

and Rabbi Lau were stopped by well-wishers.

I am not sure if the large crowd came to hear a free lecture,

the Chief Rabbi, Rav Lau or the Professor or all or none of the above.

Jerusalem book fair photo

But many of them stood around afterwards and bought books.

So even though many people say that the written word is dead,

 books are alive and well and thriving in Jerusalem, Israel.

Was this book launch a major success,

that is still up for debate.

However, for all those denied entry, the video is out and here it is:

Updated: February 26, 2013

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.