Facing Tomorrow, the first annual conference of Shimon Peres’ presidency opened yesterday afternoon; and no one else could have organized this!
The Conference is examining what the future holds for the global community, the Jewish people and the State of Israel; also recognizing Jewish and Israeli contributions to humanity. You can read more on a previous post, Tomorrow is Today.
On the opening evening, my wife called this “one big party” and to some extent it is. But, I’ve been involved in the Jewish communal world for a long time and I have to say, this Conference, by far, is
the largest and MOST INFLUENTIAL networking event that has taken place in decades.
I do not want to downplay the GA’s, WZO’s, or any other organizations’ valuable conferences. However, they do not hold a candle to who was here, how they interacted in the sessions and hallways, and I’m certain also in private.
A senior JAFI executive told me, he does not have the same optimistic opinion; he indicated speakers are all over the place and not focused. Immaterial. The fact is President Peres pulled off what no-one else has ever done: having this diverse and international crowd under one roof, discussing a host of challenges, problems and opportunities, and more important meeting each other.
Stay tuned; there will be much more to come in the days ahead.
update: From the Jerusalem Post here is another view of the Conference.
The bad news: There is no Jewish strategy
“Jewish conferences are not necessarily pointless. Some gatherings have dramatically changed Jewish life, and even deeply impacted the rest of the world…
The individuals involved in the JPPPI conference are intelligent and important figures without exception. But, as over a dozen told The Jerusalem Post, they are participating this week in a conference that has no clear direction, has discounted culture and Jewish educators and has conducted a gathering that was a confused combination of Davos-like cocktail lunches and repetitive lectures.”
Read the complete JPost article here.