DENVER, CO — The 2011 General Assembly of The Jewish Federations of North America wrapped up today with a rousing call from JFNA President and CEO Jerry Silverman for the participants to go out and keep working towards “a vibrant and fresh future for the Jewish people.”
Silverman said the GA has been “the singular platform for current and emerging thought leaders” for eight decades, and urged the Jewish community to make room for young Jewish leaders in MASA and Taglit-Birthright to become activists and advocates in every community.
The GA reminds us of our collective strength as a Jewish people. But despite all we have to celebrate, there is so much more we can do, and we have to do it,” said Silverman.
There were several great sessions today, including “Israel: Have We Lost That Loving Feeling?,” a panel with Peter Beinart (yes, the author of the scathing essay in the NY Review of Books last spring); Julie Bernstein, Associate Managing Director, JFNA/JCPA Israel Action Network; Wayne Firestone, President and CEO, Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life; and nimbly moderated by Ami Eden, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of JTA. The audience had a very broad mix of elder statesmen to college students, and featured a very lively discussion of variations on the theme “can we love Israel without loving the government and its policies?”
BJN will have more stories and pictures over the next few days as we catch our collective breath. Meanwhile, here is a photo collage of day two from BJN photographer Bruce Shaffer: