Yoran Dori, a strategic adviser to Israeli President Shimon Peres, recently lauded Israel - US relations before an audience of 750 young American Russian-speaking Jews at the Limmud FSU Summit, held in Princeton, NJ.
Organized and run entirely by volunteers, Limmud FSU "has revolutionized pluralistic Jewish engagement of Russian-speaking Jews by involving them in an array of interactive workshops, intellectually-stimulating discussions, a festive Shabbat celebration, controversial debates, film screenings, artistic performances, music, dancing and much more. "
The weekend event was such a success that some 150 entrants were turned away at the door due to overflow at the hotel.
Following are some of Dori's first-hand notes from an address he presented on the allies' bilateral ties.
"Throughout the 65 years of Israel's independence, no American administration did more for the security of the state than that of President Barack Obama, and no American president who was more committed to the security of israel than Obama," Dori said.
The committment, in his words, "included not only the American investment in strategic defense weapons like the Arrow and Iron Dome, but also in the readiness to share top military technology with Israel."
Pointing out that "in the last four years, the US stood on Israel's side at International organizations like the U.N.," Dori stressed that "more than once we saw an American veto in the Security Council and even voting, some times, against their own foreign policy.
"Yes we have difference of opinions," he said, "but it is inspiring that America never forced a 'solution' on israel."
Dori emphazed that "Israel and America share the same values of liberty, democracy and peace," concluding that those values were "the main reason for the special relation between our two countries, and that is why all of us will see a very warm welcome and the words "thank you" uttered more than once," during the visit to Israel by Obama.
"America and president Obama deserve it," he said.'A weekend of firsts'
Meanwhile, attendee and writer Lea Zeltserman said she “witnessed a strong Russian-Jewish community that is interested in its future and its place in the wider North American Jewish world.”
She called It a "weekend of firsts: "I have never been surrounded by so many Russian speakers before. And now, here were over 750 of them, taking up the entirety of the Marriott Hotel where the conference was held."
Noting that she rarely speaks Russian with non-family members, and has never been anywhere where Russian is the first language of most interactions, she revealed that the experience "was at once entirely familiar and unfamiliar."
Read the rest of Lea's personal account here: http://ejewishphilanthropy.com/limmud-fsu-us-an-immigrant-community-comes-into-its-own/
The Israeli Haaretz newspaper offers its own take on Limmud FSU: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/russian-american-jews-reconnect-with-the-motherland-in-new-jersey.premium-1.510833