Temple Israel’s 1st Thursday: The potential for peace between Palestinians and Israelis

by | Jul 23, 2021 | What’s Happening

Originally published in the January 25, 2021 issue.

Thursday, February 4, 7:30-8:30 pm

The US embassy is in Jerusalem and more Arab countries have recognized Israel, but the relationship between ordinary Israelis and Palestinians has never been worse.

So says the Alliance for Middle East Peace or ALLMEP, which represents some 125 organizations working to bridge the divide. Kevin Rachlin, the organization’s United States director, will be a featured guest on Temple Israel’s upcoming popular First Thursday Zoom program.

“Kevin is a very astute observer of the scene in Israel, but also of American politics,” says Joel Rubin, a former Temple Israel president and television anchor who moderates the monthly discussions. “He has informed views on how America’s Mideast policy might change with Joe Biden as President.”

Also on the panel will be the new director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Rabbi Batya Glazer, who formerly coordinated Jewish community relations in Washington and Philadelphia, is working remotely during the pandemic, but looks forward to moving to Hampton Roads. “I have heard such great things about the community, so I am anxious to meet everyone and get started.”

Rabbi Glazer has a long background in interfaith programming and in efforts similar to ALLMEP. “I can talk about my experience and what we can do in Hampton Roads to build our own bridges.”

Temple Israel began First Thursday after COVID-19 forced an end to the in-person Second Saturday programs Joel Rubin conducted for more than seven years. “We have taken advantage of the virtual format to bring in presenters from as far away as London,” Rubin says. “In January we har our largest participation, more than 70 persons, for a very engaging hour on the coronavirus that featured some local people who survived it and Dr. Craig Futterman, who grew up at Temple Israel and now practices in the DC area. He reassured everyone that the COVID vaccine is safe and necessary.”

Virginia’s first Jewish Speaker of the House, NOVA Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, is the scheduled First Thursday guest for March 4. “We are happy to have non-members of Temple Israel join us on the Zoom screen,” says Rabbi Michael Panitz. “The conversations are as lively and informative as any you will find anywhere, and they really help build community.”

To obtain the link for all First Thursday programs, visit https://templeisraelva.org/featured-events/first-thursday-program-in-february or call 757-489-4550.