Community partners contribute to successful speaker series

by | Jan 11, 2013 | Uncategorized

From beneath a superimposed Israeli flag, startling blue eyes stare forward with bold intensity. Without blatantly saying it in words, the poster for the 2012- 2013 Israel Today speaker series, displayed in Tidewater Jewish agencies, synagogues and the Simon Family JCC, relays the message that the guests and topics featured this season will impart information that, perhaps, all would be wise to heed.

Presented by the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater in partnership with an array of community organizations, synagogues, individuals and businesses, Israel Today offers a closer look at and into Israeli society.

This is the second year for the diverse forum. In 2011–2012, featured topics focused on Israel’s image, threats to her existence, and innovations that improve lives in that country and around the world. The speakers brought in to discuss the topics were experts in those subjects: Neil Lazarus, Mitchell Bard and Will Recant.

More than 1,000 people attended the series last year. The accolades Robin Mancoll, CRC director, heard from the community convinced her that the partnership— with all of the area’s temples, and UJFT affiliate agencies—was a success, and should be repeated.

“Everyone agreed to be a part of this again,” Mancoll says. “Being a partner with the CRC in this forum demonstrates that the synagogues and agencies believe in the work that we’re doing, and are committed to helping educate their congregants and constituents about Israel. This is one of the ways they can ‘show up,’ and say ‘We support Israel, too.’”

The current series offers the community a closer look at the issues of morality, diplomacy and leadership. Hundreds turned out to hear Israel Today’s first speaker, Utah law professor and former IDF commander Amos Guiora, speak in November.

Israeli advocacy guru Neil Lazarus returns by popular demand to speak on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 7 pm (5:30 pm for high school and college students over a free dinner— RSVP necessary to, and award-winning journalist and expert on the Arab-Israeli conflict, David Makovsky, will appear on Tuesday, April 16 at 7 pm. All events take place at the Sandler Family Campus and are free and open to the community.

The 2012–2013 Israel Today Forum partners whose support helps ensure the program’s success include:
B’nai Israel Congregation
Beth Sholom Village
Chabad of Tidewater
Congregation Beth Chaverim
Congregation Beth El
Hebrew Academy of Tidewater
Jewish Family Service
Kehillat Bet Hamidrash
Norfolk-Virginia Beach Chapter of Hadassah
Norfolk-Virginia Beach Chapter of ORT America
Ohef Sholom Temple
Simon Family Foundation
Simon Family JCC
Temple Emanuel
Temple Israel
Tidewater Jewish Foundation
UJFT Business and Legal Society
UJFT Holocaust Commission
UJFT Maimonides Society
UJFT Men’s Campaign
UJFT Women’s Cabinet
Patricia and Avraham Ashkenazi
Ann and Bobby Copeland Family
Lois and Barry Einhorn
Nataly and Seth Fleishman
Lori and Michael Glasser
Bootsie and Morton Goldmeier
Sheila and Bob Josephberg
Kathy and Jerry Kantor
Arnold Leon
Rose and Kurt Rosenbach
Art Sandler
Steve Sandler
Miriam Seeherman
Linda and Ron Spindel
IAT International
Rubin Communications Group
Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer, P.C.
WealthQuest Financial Services, LLC.

To RSVP for Neil Lazarus, and to find out about other CRC events and issues relevant to the Tidewater Jewish community and beyond, visit

by Laine M. Rutherford