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Jewish leaders meet again

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Jewish communal leaders are meeting in Jerusalem at a
conference to define policy goals for the Jewish people.

The three-day parley, organized by the Jewish Agency for
Israel’s policy institute, aims to formulate policy on everything from how
Israel should respond to the Iranian threat to how to bring more assimilated
Jews into synagogues.

“Big decisions have to be made,” said Dennis Ross, chairman
of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, which organized the conference.
“Jewish leaders have to be able to stretch their thinking.”

Prime Minister Olmert addressed the summit Tuesday night,
talking about his Jewish identity. He said he sees himself as a Jew first and
an Israeli second.

As Jewish officials from the director of the Anti-Defamation
League to the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish
Organizations sounded off on the challenges facing the Jewish people, one
conference participant bitterly noted the plenum’s lack of action.

“I am concerned we are avoiding the work,” said Shalom Saar,
a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. “Can we come
up with very specific steps?”

The policy recommendations are due to be presented Thursday.

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