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October 24, 2013, New York, NY -- The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is proud to announce that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the 72nd URJ Biennial and Women of Reform Judaism 49th Assembly and Centennial Celebration, in San Diego, California, December 11-15. The URJ Biennial is the flagship conference for the Reform Movement, and brings together 5,000 people for an inspiring five days of learning, praying, singing, networking and the opportunity to shape the future of the largest segment of North American Jewry.
In announcing that Prime Minister Netanyahu will address the Biennial, President of the Union for Reform Judaism Rabbi Rick Jacobs said:
“We are honored to have Prime Minister Netanyahu as part of our URJ Biennial and give attendees the opportunity to hear from someone who – for decades – has been at the forefront of the Israeli political scene. We look forward to thanking the Prime Minister for his leadership, and hearing important updates on his current initiatives and the priorities of the State of Israel. The fact that President Barack Obama addressed our Biennial two years ago and that Prime Minister Netanyahu will address us this year, sends a strong message to the world, recognizing the Reform Movement’s tireless work for Israel, and the American Jewish community.”
Biennial Chair Edward Burger of Congregation B’nai Israel in Bridgeport, CT, echoed Rabbi Jacobs’ excitement and issued an invitation to the wider community:
“The Biennial is the highlight of my Jewish involvement: reenergizing, inspiring, and connecting me to leadership from around the world. Having the opportunity to hear from Prime Minister Netanyahu will make this Biennial a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And this year, for the first time, our Biennial is open to anyone who wants to join us. We look forward to a great turnout from across the continent and around the world, for exceptional learning, spiritually fulfilling worship, and extraordinary speakers such as Prime Minister Netanyahu.”
Other Biennial speakers will include: Julian Bond (Former Chairman, NAACP), Ruth Calderon (Member of Knesset, Yesh Atid), Ilyse Hogue (President, NARAL Pro-Choice America), Jay Feinberg (Founder and CEO, Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation), Anat Hoffman (Executive Director, Israel Religious Action Center, and Chairwoman, Women of the Wall), Rabbi Donniel Hartman (President, Shalom Hartman Institute), Lihi Lapid (Israeli Journalist and Author) and Rick Reilly (ESPN columnist, 11-time National Sportswriter of the Year, and founder of Nothing But Nets).