On Sunday, November 16, more than 200 members of our local community came together at American Jewish University for Global Jewry: One People, One World. This first-of-its-kind event, hosted by our Federation in partnership with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), provided an in-depth look at our impact and the challenges we face.
With rising anti-Semitism in Europe, the crisis in Ukraine and the situation in Israel following the conflict with Hamas, Global Jewry: One People, One World featured timely briefings by community activists from hotspots around the world who came to Los Angeles to share their experiences. Attendees gained a stronger understanding on how our Federation and JDC respond to crises and help Jews in need, while simultaneously revitalizing Jewish life in over 70 countries.
Event Co-Chairs Terri Smooke and Jack Frydrych created a remarkable day of learning – with the help of their dedicated planning committee: Elaine Berke, Lynn Bider, Marjorie Blatt, Eric Erenstoft, Nancy Glaser, Yona Goldberg, Stanley Kandel, Lisa Kohn, Maxine Morris, Zev Nagel, Jill Namm, Sandra Post and Karen Spiegel.
After a warm welcome by Terri Smooke, Federation President & CEO Jay Sanderson provided an overview for the day entitled “World Jewry–The View from L.A.” Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple then spoke on “Why Should We Care? Our Jewish Global Responsibility.” Afterward, the participants attended breakout sessions which featured professionals from around the world who are in the field doing the life-changing work we support. Topics included “What Does It Mean to Be a Jew in a Muslim Majority country?”; “Re-creating Jewish life in the Baltics and Former Soviet Union;” “Weathering the Storm in Latin America: Political Upheaval, Social Uncertainty, and Economic Collapse;” and “Why Do Young Jews Choose to Live Jewishly in the Face of Global Anti-Semitism?”
Alan Gill, JDC’s Executive Vice President & CEO, and Jay Sanderson discussed “One People, One World – Can We Be One in Today’s World? Israel – Our Response to Our Land in Crisis,” moderated by Danielle Berrin of The Jewish Journal. Next, Alan Gill, Asher Ostrin, JDC Senior Executive, International Affairs; and Zsuza Fritz, Director of JCC in Budapest, shared their unique perspective on “Europe on Fire: Jews at Risk Amid Crisis and Extremism: The latest stories pulled from the headlines and their impact on the ground,” which was moderated by Andrew Cushnir, Executive Vice President, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
Jack Frydrych, Event Co-Chair, closed the day with a call to action. He urged participants to continue staying informed on our collective impact by visiting our Federation’s website and social media pages, attending our educational events in the coming year, sharing the information they’ve learned with others in the community, advocating for our global community with elected officials, and seeing the work of our Federation in person by traveling on one of our Federation’s international missions in 2015.
Stay tuned for more information about our global reach and the impact of your generosity around the world. For more information, contact OnePeople@JewishLA.org.