Kristen and I will be here in Washinton for the next three days for our second J Street National Conference I would encourage all Jews and others who care deeply about the future of Israel and the American Jewish community to follow live at www,jstreet.org or to check out the videos on line.
The conference hasn't even started yet and I've already had a chance to connect and reconnect with a number of Jewish journalist friends from the U.S. and Israel and to have meaningful conversations with Amos Oz, Jeremy Ben Ami and others
I have been to many Federation General Assemblies, AIPAC local and national events, and other Jewish gatherings and haved really enjoyed and learned from then all. But right now today, J Street is tapping into a void that we desperately need to fill.
We have to have a venue where Jews who care about Israel to come and vigorously debate the challenges that face us. Not just to stand and applaud every five seconds and hear speech after speech designed to pander to the wealthiest and politically significant Jews and others who have already made up their minds what policies regarding Israel should be. We don't need another booster club where the kinds of serious debates about morality and values are banned instead of encouraged.
We need a venue where the implications of the actions of American political leaders and the Israeli government and religious leaders are discussed by people who care about Israel's chances for survival as a Jewish democracy and on what it the actions of the Jewish state has on the practical meaning of Jewish values, wisdom, and ethics.
Where the external threats are acknowledged and discussed along with--not instead of--the moral implications of actions taken in the name of all Jews everywhere.
So far more than 2500 people have shown up for the opening plenary. Thousands of caring rabbis, students, and Jews like me. I am really looking forward to the next couple days and will be sharing my thoughts here.