Welcome to Los Angeles and to the UJC General Assembly, and thank you for joining us.
As we all know, the world changed for all of us on July 12. You should also know that the GA changed that day, as well. Until that point, Israel and the relationship between Israelis and Diaspora Jewry was one of a score of topics that this GA was going to address. Smart, important topics that we will still need to address as a community and as a people. But the war in Israel gave us focus.
We share – all of us – a deep commitment to the survival of Israel in every way, shape, and form. We believe to our core that continuing to forge a strong, meaningful connection between North American Jewry and the people of Israel is critical to the success and survival of both of our communities. And we recognize that our ability to provide sound, insightful leadership at this moment in history will very likely shape the future of the Jewish people for generations.
That is our focus. We are looking outside our physical borders and beyond our emotional comfort zones to take a hard, honest assessment of the new global realities to help us grow and educate our leaders and our leadership capabilities. Anti-Semitism, Islamic fundamentalism, the ravaging in Darfur, and of course, the current and future security of Israel as a nation in the world – this is a strong program. We secured many of the best authorities on a variety of subjects to ensure that you walk away on Wednesday afternoon informed and set to take your rightful leadership role in your communities. Yes, communities. In your Jewish communities, in your cultural and academic communities, business communities, in your cities, in the media. We need you to start here and to act when you get home.
Israel needs you. And the Jewish people need you.
Thank you again for coming. And thank you to the hundreds of dedicated volunteers and professionals who have worked so hard to make this, the 75th General Assembly, so extraordinary. We look forward to sharing this time with all of you.
Leslie E. Bider
Richard S. Ziman