The Way We Were in 2003
2003 Israel Mission
In 2003, six Knoxvillians went to Israel on a mission that included meetings of the General Assembly (GA) and Partnership 2000 (P2K) sister city activities. This photo shows (left to right) the late Marcia Katz, Andy Fagan, Bernie Rosenblatt, and Marilyn Liberman marching in Jerusalem to express support for merchants during the second Intifada (not shown: Wilma and the late Murray Weinstein).
Bernie, Marilyn, and Wilma remain active members of the community.
Columns Bernie and Marilyn wrote for the Knoxville Jewish Voice upon their return appear below.
Thanks to Marilyn Liberman for the donation of the photograph, and to Marilyn Liberman and Bernie Rosenblatt for information about the trip.
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Thoughts and Ruminations...
The Knoxville Jewish Community Voice
December 2003 page 2
From the President's Desk
By Marilyn Liberman
We are back! Six of us, Wilma and Murray Weinstein, Andy Fagan, Marcia Katz, Bernie Rosenblatt and I spent an extraordinary time in Israel attending the General Assembly. I have been to Israel many times but never before felt such connection to the land and the people as I did this trip.
Israel was ready for us and we were ready to give them our hearts, souls and love. The appreciation expressed for our being there was boundless. The desire for us to laugh and yes, to cry was felt in everything we did. We went from the gaiety of the events planned to the seriousness of the situation there and we learned, talked, argued and partied with so many fellow Americans and Israelis.
Our trip started with a day in Hadera, our Partnership 2000 city. With all the cities that share this region we were treated to a day of wonderful food, wonderful sightseeing and entertainment. We greeted old friends and were delighted to see the youngsters who had spent time in Knoxville this past summer. Watching them respond so warmly, especially to Bernie, made us realize that we in Knoxville are running a program that works.
The GA opened with a Partnership 2000 Conference and Street Fair where each partner city had a display featuring their area. From this fair we attended he gala opening event where Prime Minister Sharon and President Katsav spoke. There was singing, fireworks, and a variety of entertainment headed by the singer, Noa, the Ankor Children's Choir and two other performing groups.
On Monday the first series of meeting began. Monday's sessions were termed “Shaping the Future.” Wen spent the day looking for uncommon solutions to common challenges. I attended “Reflecting of the Jewish Dimensions of Our Lives” with Rabbi Daniel Gordis and Rabbi David Hartman. The emphasis was on how Jews are spiritually connecting to Jewish life both in Israel and in North America.
My next session was “Influencing Policy in the United States and Israel.” Naomi Chazan, former Deputy speaker of the Knesset, Neal Newhouse, The Israel Project, Hannah Rosenthal, Jewish Council of Public Affairs and Ambassador Zalman Shoval, advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs were the speakers. They spoke on how to build and implement a local hasbara plan through lobbying and pubic relation efforts.
While Bernie and Andy attended the Board of Trustees, Delegates Assembly's annual meeting, Marcia and I attended a special women's philanthropy luncheon with Deborah Lipstadt as the keynote speaker. Her topic was on anti-Semitism, anti-Israelism and anti-Americanism.
My last session on Monday was called, “Life Imitates Art.” I was thrilled to hear and see the director of the Israel Museum, the director of the artist network, Nava Semel, author and Chai Topol, Actor. The sessions ended with the announcements of the Sapir Award for Campaign Excellence and Innovation. KJA received this award for combining our community-wide Mitzvah Day with our phone-a-thon. Only 11 Federations received this award. (See page 11.)
Tuesday 76 buses crisscrossed the country to see, hear and interact with the people and places that define our work in Israel. I spent the day entitled, “The Empowerment of Women.” This took me to the Knesset with top women officials and then to Jaffe to meet with Arab women. After we all had our day out we gathered at Neve Tzedek in Tel Aviv for an extraordinary celebration filled with food drinks and entertainment.
Wednesday afternoon we left for Hadera where we spent all day Thursday attending meetings for the P2K project. We went through an allocation process not unlike our allocation process in Knoxville. Wednesday night Bernie, Marcia and I were invited to dinner at Tamar Tal's house. She was one of the summer students who were in Knoxville.
Even though this seems long, it is really only a brief description of what we did. We were always aware of the security situation in Israel but felt safe being there. Israelis have learned to go on with their lives regardless of the uncertainty of the situation. They need us, they want us and we must show them our support by being there. Our dollars are providing them with much help in carrying out the philanthropic needs of the country. Our presence provide the Israelis with the emotional and spiritual support they need.
I thank the Knoxville Jewish Alliance for giving me this wonderful opportunity to see firsthand what we are trying to accomplish. Our commitment to the Jewish people here and around the world is what makes us uniquely Jewish.
Next year in Jerusalem!