New York, NY (PRWEB) June 23, 2012
In advance of The Jewish Agency’s upcoming Global Jewish Forum, Robbie Gringras, the event's lead producer, gave an interview discussing the forum and its topic To Be a Free People in Our Land.
The Global Jewish Forum, a product of Makom – a Jewish Agency center for cutting-edge Israel engagement programming – takes place three times per year, in Jerusalem during The Agency’s Assembly and Board of Governors meetings. The purpose is to bring together the most diverse gathering of Jewish communal leaders and thinkers of all ages and backgrounds in order to grapple with the most pressing issues of global Jewish relevance. Through these sometimes contentious discussions, Gringras believes, participants will emerge with more thoughtful, nuanced and creative approaches to the programs they are developing, evaluating and supporting.
To Be a Free People In Our Land is a line from Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem. But at a time where some have publicly questioned whether liberalism and Zionism can co-exist, Gringras believes the only way to approach this question is by looking at how Jews define these two phenomena which have driven Jewish identity for more than a century.
“The penultimate line in Hatikvah sums up the liberal nationalist aims of the Jewish state,” Gringras said in an interview that is posted on The Jewish Agency’s website. “To be free. But not to be free only as an individual – to be free as a collective, as a People. And not just that, but to realize this freedom, this national liberation, in the Land of Israel.
“Some would maintain that there are in-built tensions between individual freedom and the nature of a collective, and that there are specific tensions between freedom and our choice to live in “Our Land” while others maintain it is theirs! So in one sense the title of the Forum could be a presentation of a problem, while in another sense it is a lyrical expression of one of the Jewish People’s greatest achievement… I personally believe that collision courses between thoughtful friends are always generative, morally essential, and the greatest force for creativity I know.”
Earlier this year, The Global Jewish Forum explored the tension between ultra-orthodox Jews (Haredim) and mainstream Israeli society, and last June the Forum unpacked the topic of de-legitimization of Israel and whether or where the boundaries of self-criticism should be drawn.
Gringras said: “The Jewish Agency decided to take advantage of this gathering to address more than The Jewish Agency’s own specific agenda, and provide a forum for leaders to sit together and think, share ideas, and attempt to grapple with the sticky, complex issues that a straight yes-no vote in a committee cannot address.”
The Jewish Agency will be webcasting the major proceedings of next week’s Assembly and Board of Governors Meeting, as well as interviews with speakers and attendees, from its pop-up Studio of the Jewish People. Both of the Global Jewish Forums featured addresses—given by Dr. Michael Sandel, author of What Money Can’t Buy, and columnist Gadi Taub—will be live streamed followed by an interview with the two speakers.
About the Jewish Agency for Israel
Investing in a vibrant Jewish future, The Jewish Agency for Israel continues to address the greatest challenges of our People in every generation. We connect the global Jewish family, bringing Jews to Israel- and Israel to Jews. We build a better society in Israel- and beyond- energizing young Israelis and their worldwide peers to rediscover a collective sense of Jewish purpose. At the same time, The Jewish Agency continues to be the Jewish world’s first responder, prepared to rescue and bring Jews home to Israel from countries where they live at-risk. More information can be obtained at http://www.jewishagency.org.