NEW YORK, Oct. 31 (JTA) – Originally titled “Lech Lecha: Go Forth,” this year’s gathering of North American Jewish federation and community leaders was initially slated to “discover the meaning and effects of globalization, the universality of our needs and dreams.”
But as the conflict intensified in Israel, the planned theme for the federation system’s General Assembly, scheduled for Nov. 10-15 in Chicago, began to ring hollow, says organizers.
They “went through the program and looked for things that didn’t seem on target anymore,” said Louise Stoll, chief operating officer of the United Jewish Communities, the umbrella of the federations.
Among the changes to the gathering, expected to attract more than 4,000 participants:
• An event celebrating fund-raising successes was converted to an Israel solidarity rally;
• Various sessions have been recast in order to brief participants on what is going on in Israel and how they can help;
• Sessions on issues such as civil liberties and civil rights were cut; and
• Headline speakers – such as Elie Wiesel – were asked to incorporate the current situation in their remarks.