Today marks the opening day of The Jewish Federation of North America’s (JFNA) annual event – the General Assembly (GA) – which will be held entirely online for the first time. Organizers marvel that the virtual forum has allowed more people to access the program. More than 10,000 people have registered, which makes this year the largest GA ever.
In two dynamic plenaries – one tonight at 7 PM ET and the other tomorrow at 1:30 PM ET – viewers will be treated to specially composed musical performances, greetings from top Israeli, Jewish, academic and civic leaders and participate in discussions on the future of Jewish life. They will also reflect on how the COVID pandemic has impacted Jewish communal organizations.
“Our physical spaces may have been unable to open, but our community never closed,” said Mark Wilf, chair of the JFNA Board of Trustees. “Synagogues continued to gather members for sacred moments, healthcare workers offered support to clients, schools relocated learning to living rooms and volunteers found ways to safely bring food to the home-bound. Even with tremendous loss, personally and professionally, we are tremendously proud of how the Jewish Federations and the entire Jewish organizational world have responded. We were truly built for this moment,” he said.
The 2020 GA will also feature more than 25 worships and special events, including one today at 1 PM ET which will address the important bill introduced by Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs Omer Yankelevitch calling for Israel to formally consult with world Jewry on matters regarding the greater Jewish people. Over the years, various proposals have been made to give global Jewry a stronger voice in Israel, including the idea of Diaspora representatives in the Knesset. In this session Israeli lawmakers – Members of Knesset Tehilla Freedman, Merav Michaeli and Michal Cotler-Wunsh – will discuss the idea with JFNA President & CEO Eric Fingerhut.
The three days of programing is open to all at no cost. You can register at www.generalassembly.org.