Many folks say that high on the score card of What makes Jewish Jax a stand-out community is ‘we have so many notable visiting speakers and an endless array of special events … but never enough time to attend everything!’
For a town with a small Jewish population, we have a vibrant community calendar that pulsates year-after-year. Our leadership is to be commended for enriching our community life. Recently, we heard two great visiting speakers.
I was especially anxious to hear Dr. Jonathan Adelman. Jonathan and I were childhood buddies and attended grade school together in Wheaton, MD. As a young boy Jonathan towered above us all academically. He was an exhuberant student … so thirsty to learn … about everything! Then and now, he’s also a great guy.
Dr. Adelman, addressed the Jewish Federation and Partner Agency Annual Meeting. He discussed Israel at 70 years. Professor Adelman, University of Denver, authored 12 books, has been a frequent speaker on Voice of America broadcasts, authored 92 Op-Ed pieces for numerous media including the Huffington Post, History News Network, CNN, Forbes and Jerusalem Post. The U.S. state Department has sent Dr. Adelman on speaking tours to 19 countries, including China, Russia, Turkey, England, Argentina and Chile.
Hey folks, remember Condi Rice? Jonathan was her professor at Columbia University. He also served as an advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney.
Dr. Adelman noted “these are best of times and the worst of times, but these are the times we live in.” He noted the threat from Iran; and also optimistically highlighted the great advances Israel has made in a few short decades. 70 years ago, Israel’s main exports were oranges and dentures. Israel today is a high-tech powerhouse, including leading the way in cybersecurity. Israel is now rated as the strongest military power in the Middle East.
“It’s amazing that the tiny and poor Israel of 1948 has emerged in less than 70 years as a player among the great powers of the world. And yet, in the 21st century, everything is possible.”
Aliza Bulow addressed a Shabbaton at Etz Chaim Synagogue. Have you ever met a descendant of Puritan American settlers from the 1600s? Well meet Aliza! She is also a leading international lecturer, educator and consultant. Aliza is founder and director of WICK, a network that supports women working in Jewish education. After a spiritual search that began in early adolescence, Aliza converted to Judaism at age 16. Aliza moved to Israel where she studied at Michletet Bruria and Hebrew University. She served in the IDF during the Lebanon war.
At the Etz Chaim Shabbaton, Aliza led several engaging discussions about mystical insights of prayer, building a home of simcha and bringing the mission of the Jews to fruition. Aliza brims with warmth and simcha as she carries the torch of lighting the world with her uplifting energy.
On a personal note, I am very grateful to our leaders of the Jewish Federation and Etz Chaim Synagogue for bringing these two great personages to our community.