By Ben Tinsley
DALLAS — Two prominent speakers will take center stage at the American Jewish Committee Dallas annual meeting on Thursday, Sept. 10 to discuss how the Iran nuclear deal is expected to impact the Jewish community.
This meeting also will see the installation of the AJC Dallas 2015-2016 officers and board members as well as the welcoming of the newly hired AJC Dallas regional director.
The 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. meeting is free and open to the public. It takes place in the Fonberg Family Chapel of Congregation Shearith Israel, 9401 Douglas Ave. Registration will be from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
AJC officials said it is a timely and germane idea to review the long-term nuclear deal Iran struck with world powers after nearly two years of negotiations. The agreement Iran entered into with the United States, United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany severely limits the country’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
However, the deal is not well thought of by everyone.
“The Iran Deal has dominated headlines for months now and has created some real tension within the Jewish community — not just here in Dallas but across the United States,” explained Kim Kamen, associate director of the Department of Regional Offices at AJC. “This is an issue of the utmost concern. The Jewish community is small but powerful and we are concerned about the rift or potential rift that has been caused by the partisan politics brought into the mix. We chose these speakers in part to educate — and in part to speak to that rift, bring better understanding, and provide guidance and the next steps into the future.”
These speakers have also discussed their presentation topic, “Healing Potential Rifts: How the Iran Deal Impacts the Jewish Community,” with other Jewish communities in areas as far away as Cincinnati.
Those speakers include:
• Eitan Levon, consul general of Israel to the Southwest. He was appointed this year to head the Consulate General to the Southwest United States responsible for the five-state region of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Before that, Levon was Israel’s representative to the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva. He has served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more than two decades in various positions, including director of International Affairs in Jerusalem.
Levon holds a master’s degree in National Security from the Israeli National Defense College at Haifa University.
He is married and has three children.
• Julie Fishman Rayman, AJC’s director of Political Outreach, Office of Government & International Affairs.
Before coming to AJC in January 2012, Rayman was senior advisor to former U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-11th District, covering foreign policy, human rights, defense and homeland security.
In addition to a variety of senior political liaison responsibilities, Rayman is the lead legislative advocate of the AJC’s foreign policy priorities. Before working on The Hill, she was director of college initiatives at BBYO and Hillel director for Georgetown University.
Rayman holds a master’s degree from the National Defense University in Strategic Security Studies, with a concentration in counterterrorism. She also holds an M.A. from Georgetown University in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Religious Studies, and a B.A. from American University.
Toward the end of the meeting, members will get the chance to meet new Regional Director Joel Schwitzer, whose last job was as the development director of the ADL regional office in Dallas. Schwitzer is being formally introduced at the meeting although he only officially joins AJC Wednesday Sept. 16.
Schwitzer is the husband of Beri Kaplan Schwitzer, the new director of Congregational Learning at Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson. Together, they have identical twin daughters, Mira and Zoe, who turned 13 on Sept. 5.
Joel Schwitzer brings much experience in nonprofit management, communications, and development and a deep understanding of and passion for AJC’s mission and priorities, Kamen explained.
Also, Schwitzer is a Dallas native, and has held impressive roles with the Jewish Federation here in Dallas; Hillel in Champaign, Illinois; and the Dallas ADL, Ladd Hirsch, president of the Dallas region of the AJC, stated in a news release.
“Meeting several times over the summer, this committee arrived at a unanimous decision regarding Joel’s selection — and they echo my excitement in welcoming him to AJC Dallas,” Hirsch said in the release.
Dessert will follow this event. Dietary laws will be observed.
AJC Dallas 2015-2016 Executive Committee and Board of Directors
Doug Baer: Executive Committee Member At-Large
Ken Bendalin: Co-VP Intergroup Affairs
Margot Lebenberg Carter: VP Development
Christopher (Chris) Cheniae: Co-VP Intergroup Affairs
Rabbi Zvi Drizin
Gary Eisenstat: Immediate Past President
Deborah Gilbert: Co- VP Leadership Development
Michael Meyers: Co-VP Israel and Jewish Relations
Benton Middleman: Co-VP Israel and Jewish Relations
Steve Schachter: Co-VP Leadership Development
Karla Steinberg: Co-VP Intergroup Affairs
Raymond Termini: Co-VP International Affairs
Janice Sweet Weinberg
Harriet Whiting: Executive Committee Member At-Large
Harrison Yoss: Co-VP International Affairs
Leonard A. (Ladd) Hirsch: President, AJC Dallas
MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Lawrence (Larry) D. Ginsburg
Madeline (Maddy) Unterberg
NEW BOARD MEMBERS