More than 55 members of the Atlanta Jewish community, almost half of them students, participated in the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum in Israel June 10-13. The Atlanta delegation joined 2,400 from around the world who were part of the forum, which honored Israel’s 70th anniversary.

Joining the AJC in Israel were more than 350 students, representing 156 colleges and universities worldwide. They included students from Agnes Scott College, Emory University, Georgia State University, Georgia Southern University and the University of Georgia.

Atlanta participants included: Zachary Adler, Lipaz Avigal, Jonathan Biran, Rabbi Analia Bortz, Matthew Chatzinoff, Rabbi Scott Colbert, Karen Colbert, Mollie Cole, Julie Covall, Sandra Cuttler, Linda Davis, Isabella Dubrow, Richard Ellin, Janice Elli, Ilene Engel, Lois Frank, Larry Frank, Wini Freund, Murray Goldman, Jon Goldman, Aaron Gordon, Talya Gordon, Leah Gross, David Horwitz, Merle Horwitz, Rabbi Mario Karpuj, Adina Karpuj, Eric Kelly, Jessica Korn, Sheri Labovitz, Steve Labovitz, Sarah Lampert, Gabby Leon, Rachel Markhoff, Linda Meir, Dennis Meir, Debbie Neese, Melanie Nelkin, Allan Nelkin, Jessica Nooriel, Jennifer Pardee, Shelly Peskin, Lauren Rein, Marni Rein, Rifqa Sa’Aadat, Rachel Sarch, Lee Setty, Sarah Snow, Bari Steel, Isabella Taylor, Simone Wilker, Dov Wilker, Katherine Winston, Jacob Young, and Allan Zachariah.

In 1962, the AJC became the first American Jewish organization to open an office in Jerusalem. The AJC has been actively involved in Israel since the country’s rebirth in 1948 and participates in year-round diplomatic activity. AJC delegations regularly visit capitals around the world to meet with top government officials and Jewish community leaders.

Highlights included keynote addresses by:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz; Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov; and Yahya Cholil Staquf, General Secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Supreme Council in Indonesia, the leader of the world’s largest Muslim organization.

A surprise highlight was the reunion of Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, and Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, who “broke twitter” with their selfie at last year’s Miss Universe competition.

There were also 18 simultaneous excursions to visit and meet with experts at key strategic, counter-terrorism, innovation, absorption, interreligious, Israeli Arab and ultra-Orthodox sites and a gathering at Jerusalem’s Davidson Center, in a show of solidarity for religious pluralism. 

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