Sunday, April 03, 2005

Tonight's Show Time

While I checked into my hotel yesterday (and can I say what a beautiful room it is!), the conference doesn't begin officially until less than an hour from now. I was going crazy not having an Internet connection, not finding a hot spot anywhere in this hotel and being too cold to run around town with my laptop looking for one, so I broke down and paid the $9.99 for 24 hours. OK, you can all stop laughing now. I realize it's a small price to pay for feeling connected to the world but still... So what am I doing in an hour, you ask?

I have orientation and legislative overview, followed by a general reception and then the real thing kicks into full gear. There will be a dinner, with greetings from the ADL National Leadership Chair, followed by the welcome from the National Chair and then Abe Foxman himself is going to address us. His talk is titled, "350 Years of Jews in America: Where We Are Today."

I know, I know, how can it get any better than this? I'll tell you! We will then have Anti-Bias Education in the Formative Years: the ADL Miller Early Childhood Initiative with Harvey Miller and Walkaround Ernie from "Sesame Street" -- and I'll get to have my picture taken with him! (Tho don't count on seeing that one, guys, unless I can get him to pose with just my arm/bracelets for identification.)

The poor person forced to follow Ernie is Gabriela Kohen, who will be performing "Decoding the Tablecloth" -- and I promise afterwards to come back here to the comments section and tell you exactly what that means because right now -- I don't have a clue. So check back later for how the evening went -- but not too soon because after all of this, all the young leaders are going to the lobby bar to get to know one another. Should be entertaining....


At 4:39 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

It’s rather embarrassing but I miss details when I read (e.g. ribbons) more and more often as I progress in my maturity.
So this time I double checked but I still couldn’t find if you posted any links to the conference you’re attending.
Does it have its own home page

At 7:53 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Actually, felis, there seems to be a news blackout on it. Security reasons, I believe. Heading to bar, will post later. And don't worry about skipping details... i do it all the time.

At 10:21 PM, Blogger Esther said...

The most moving speech that happened tonight was given by Abe Foxman. He held up his speech and said we would get a copy of it tomorrow and instead he spoke about the passing of Pope John Paul II. The gist of what he said was that he thought we should all mourn and celebrate the sensitivity of the Pope towards the Jews. He was the first Pope to visit a synagogue in Jerusalem. To demonstrate his sensitivity, Abe said that the Pope asked a person close to the Chief Rabbi, rather than sending official word, whether or not it was okay for him to come. He didn't want to offend the rabbi. The rabbi sent word that he was welcomed.

Abe told another story about when he took a group of Polish Americans to get the Pope's blessing about a project they were doing to honor and pay tribute to the people who were exterminated in Triblinka. They got the blessing and when they left, the Christians got a coin and the Jewish visitors, Abe included, received art books. Abe collects coins though, so he asked the chief of staff why he didn't get a coin. Turns out there was a crucifix and the Pope was worried he'd offend.

Abe continued -- this Pope asked for forgiveness for hatred that came from Christian teachings. He hopes to not have to remind people in a few years of the Pope's wonderful teachings -- that people won't forget.

America is unique, but it is not immune. We've made so much progress, but we have not eradicated bigotry and anti-Semitism. Wherever and whenever good people stand up to say "No" -- people live. Each of us has the power to make a difference -- to change the world.

He wants an 11th commandment, mandated by millions of victims of hate, to be -- "Never again." If we change minds and hearts, we can save people. It is our obligation to never again be silent.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger bbs said...

i'm glad you found that connection line and i'm even more glad this trip is all that and more. okay, now come home. u're missed.

At 9:42 PM, Blogger patrickafir said...

I appreciate Abraham Foxman's positive and practical attitude. We live in a great land, and it is our responsibility to keep it that way and to make it better.


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