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July 4, 2010

about a year ago, a few of my colleagues, donny inbar and lital carmel recommend to akiva tor, consul general of israel’s pacific northwest region, that he nominate me to apply for a diplomatic seminar for young jewish leaders that the israeli ministry of foreign affairs hosts each year. i applied and with the kind recommendation letters of the current chair from the LGBT alliance, arthur slepian and my incredibly encouraging boss, karen bluestone, i was chosen to participate!

to provide a bit of context about the seminar, the israeli ministry supports 69 embassies, 15 consulates, and 3 missions all of which were invited to recommend a leader to participate. of course, i am humbled to remind not only you but myself that not all of these places nominated someone. regardless of how many applied (and honestly i have no idea if it was a lot or just a few folks) i will be participating alongside 36 other leaders from jewish communities around the globe.

i have many thanks to give this community but in particular i need to thank akiva tor, consul general of israel for the pacific northwest, to thank for this chance to learn about israel from the israeli government perspective

the seminar is a study program intended to facilitate a deeper understanding of the political and national security challenges facing israel, and insight into the society, economy and culture of the jewish-democratic state. particular attention will be paid to challenges facing the jewish people as a whole: demography and jewish continuity, the battle against anti-semitism, and the relationship between israel and the jewish diaspora. conducted under the auspices of the department for jewish communities at the ministry of foreign affairs, the seminar will include lectures, workshops, cultural events and study tours.

i have so many thousands of people in this community to thank for their generous annual donations to the jewish community federation. because of these gifts i am able to participate as a jewish professional, a jewish community leader and an LGBT queer jewish community organizer in the hopes that my experience will foster enhanced dialogue and engagement upon my return. i have about 7 days available to explore partnership opportunities and build relationships with our federation grantees. please let me know if you recommend someone interesting to meet or something interesting to experience!

i could not have had this opportunity without the kind determination and hard work of karen bluestone, donny inbar, julie bernstein, paul cohen, gila noam, al baum, neta shacham, lital carmel, akiva tor, martin tannenbaum, rabbi camille shira angel, roberta catalinotto, arthur slepian, anat noam, mark hogains and many of you… thank you for making this opportunity possible. also, i have so many thanks to the support of kol tzedek without them none of my work in the LGBT jewish community could be possible.

in peace, gratitude, love and joy!

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