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President George W. Bush to speak at Minn. synagogue

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MINNEAPOLIS (The American Jewish World) — Former President George W. Bush will speak at Beth El Synagogue on Sept. 21, the Minnesota synagogue said.

The fundraising event at the Conservative synagogue in St. Louis Park is being billed as “An Intimate Evening with the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush.” The audience will be limited to 250; ticket prices start at $1,250.

Bush’s speaking fee is reported to be between $100,000 and $150,000.

No press will be allowed to cover the event, according to an Aug. 22 letter from Beth El president Gil Mann. The letter notes a Sept. 1 deadline for ticket orders, “so that appropriate security measures can be taken.”

In his letter, Mann wrote that "[Bush's] appearance coincides with the 10th anniversary of 9-11, a time when our country came together with a singular purpose. This national tragedy defined much of his presidency, and the lessons of that time should prove illuminating and provide important perspective today as our country strives to be more united."

Other world leaders who have spoken at Beth El include former President Clinton, ex-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Bush’s secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice.

Rice’s appearance in November 2009 engendered controversy in the congregation and in the larger community. Dozen of protesters decrying her support for the Iraq War and the use of torture against suspected terrorists picketed outside the event.

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