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

JFGO has resources on Iran deal


Rhonda Forest

As members of Congress review and debate the recent agreement governing Iran's nuclear development, the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando (JFGO) is at the forefront locally, providing community members with a vast array of resources about the issue via the Federation's special web page, jfgo.org/iran.

Launched two days after the agreement was announced, JFGO's web page has grown substantially, with several hours of video, statements from Jewish groups across the nation, and links to in-depth analytical and opinion pieces that cover the issue from multiple perspectives. In its statement issued after the deal was reached, JFGO urged members of the local Jewish community to study the agreement in detail and then contact their elected representatives. The web page was created as a tool to help the community do both.

The message appears to be resonating locally in a big way. On July 23, the Jewish Federations of North America hosted a webcast featuring Middle East expert Dr. Robert Satloff. More than 1,500 viewers across the nation tuned in to watch the live event, and viewership in Greater Orlando was the fourth-largest in the nation, with only New York City, Chicago and the District of Columbia drawing more viewers. Another Federation webcast, featuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was scheduled for Aug. 3. Replays of both webcasts can be viewed at jfgo.org/iran.

JFGO chairwoman of the Board Rhonda Forest said the Federation will continue to serve as community educator and facilitator during the entire 60-day congressional review period.

"Knowledge is power," Forest said, "and we are in the business of empowering our community. We have heard from quite a few people on all sides of the issue, and they are understandably passionate about their views. Many have said they are grateful that Federation has provided the resources that will enable them to make a thoughtful, informed decision. The media tend to present polarizing viewpoints that make for great TV, but they don't advance the issue or educate the public. Our goal is to fill that void, and I think we are succeeding."

Forest said the 60-day review period presents a unique opportunity for the local Jewish community to hold their lawmakers accountable and insist that they review the agreement in detail.

"The stakes are too high for us to waste our time shouting at one another," she said. "We need to put our collective energy into contacting our elected officials and making our voices be heard. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, your voice matters. Make it count.


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