Temple Shalom hosted the second annual Israel Today Community Symposium Aug. 5, attracting some 500 participants.
Four keynote speakers — Rabbi Andrew Paley, Technion Vice President Boaz Golany, Detroit’s Russell St. Missionary Baptist Church Reverend Dr. Deedee M. Coleman and pro-Israel activist and Dallas attorney Charles Pulman — each took their turn at the podium throughout the day in four joint sessions. Each brought their own unique perspective to the table, but it was Reverend Dr. Coleman who garnered a standing ovation in her after-lunch keynote. Coleman has made a number of trips to Israel since 2007 through the AIPAC Foundation.
“I have come today to let the house of Israel know that you are not alone, you are not alone in your struggles, you are not alone in your prayers, you are not alone in your endeavors to make Israel a free state, one that lives without fear.”
There is a commitment between the Jewish and African-American relationship, said Coleman. She pointed out the long history of Jewish support during the Civil Rights movement and how that relationship had waned at times. “We must come together as one and strive for a better world for us all. … We must walk together and declare that we can do more together than we could ever do apart.”
She stressed that education is the key, as is standing up for what you believe.
“I am clear like never before on what I am called to do during a time such as this. Without question I am a pro-Israel advocate and I am not ashamed to stand for Israel and my Jewish sisters and brothers and I am called to proclaim what I believe:
“I believe that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
“I believe that the United States Embassy should be in Jerusalem.
“I believe that not only does Israel have the right, but it has an obligation, to defend itself when being threatened with annihilation. And don’t ever, ever, ever apologize for defending your heritage, your land and your people.”
In between keynote sessions, participants attended four breakout sessions among 30 choices. A new feature of the symposium was a teen program led by Jesse Stock of Stand with Us.
Ken Glaser and Anita Weinstein were lauded throughout the day for their yeoman’s work in putting together an enriching program. Plans are already underway for next year.