Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

U.S./Israel relations topic at AIPAC


Rabbi Rick Sherwin

On Wednesday, Sept. 3, Rabbi Rick Sherwin of Congregation Beth Am in Longwood, Florida will join hundreds of pulpit rabbis from around the country for a one-day symposium on U.S. – Israel relations featuring top thinkers and influential policy makers. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee's third National Rabbinic Symposium, to be held at AIPAC Headquarters in Washington, D.C., will afford Rabbi Rick and the other attendees the opportunity to meet and hear insightful leaders and speakers as he prepares his High Holy Day messages and sermons.

The mission of AIPAC is to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of Israel and the United States. AIPAC's staff and citizen activists educate decision makers about the bonds that unite the United States and Israel and how it is in America's best interest to help ensure that the Jewish state is safe, strong and secure. Cooperation between the two countries is advantageous for both nations. AIPAC urges all members of Congress to support Israel through foreign aid, government partnerships, joint anti-terrorism efforts and the promotion of a negotiated two-state solution-a Jewish state of Israel and a demilitarized Palestinian state.

The AIPAC Rabbinic Symposium, developed by Sammy Kalmowicz, AIPAC's Florida Region Synagogue Initiative director, has brought notable speakers including Ambassador Michael Oren, Senator Joe Lieberman, Elliot Abrams, and Dr. Charles Krauthammer to speak to pulpit rabbis committed to supporting Israel. Scheduled to speak this September are Mosab Hassan Yousef, author of "Son of Hamas," Former Knesset Member Einat Wilf and author and diplomat Aaron David Miller along with other notable experts on Israel and the Middle East.

Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of Hamas co-founder, and leader Hassan Yousef, rejected Hamas after being raised to become a Hamas militant. Yousef has stated, "Hamas is not seeking coexistence and compromise. Hamas is seeking conquest and taking over. And by the way, the destruction of the State of Israel is not Hamas's final destination. Hamas' final destination is building an Islamic caliphate, which means an Islamic state, over rubble of every other civilization."

Dr. Einat Wilf is an Adjunct Fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Senior Fellow with the Jewish People Policy Institute and a former member of the Israeli Knesset. Born and raised in Israel, Dr. Wilf served as an Intelligence Office in the Israeli Defense Forces and as a Foreign Policy Advisor to Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres. She is a respected author and public speaker on issues regarding Israeli society.

Aaron David Miller is currently the vice president for New Initiatives and Distinguished Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He has served in the U.S. Department of State and has helped formulate U.S. policy on the Middle East and the Arab-Israel peace process.

Rabbi Sherwin attended the 2014 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington D.C. last March. Unwavering in his support of Israel, Rabbi Rick feels, especially given the current escalation with Hamas, that it is important for him, his congregants at Beth Am and the Central Florida Jewish community to remain educated and engaged on all the issues. Sherwin commented, "With the current tensions between the Palestinians and Hamas and Israel, it is time for us to stop pointing fingers at each other from opposite sides of the aisle and start focusing on what we can do in a united effort to support Israel."

For more information on Rabbi Rick and Congregation Beth Am consult the synagogue web site at http://www.CongBethAm.org, call the synagogue office at (407) 862-3505 or "friend" Beth Am at http://www.Facebook.com/CongBethAm.


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