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Shimon Fogel

Shimon Fogel

By Les Rothschild, Chair, Adult Education Committee.

We have invited Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), to speak to us Wednesday, October 16. This will be his first address in a Reform Congregation and I hope that you will be part of the discussion.  Let’s find out about the role that CIJA plays, advocating for Israel and the Jewish community, and how we fit in.

CIJA is not without controversy in our community. But I believe it is better to talk with each other rather than to ignore each other. Therefore, I urge you to join us and to voice your opinion.

For those of you who know about CIJA, you may already have a comment or two. Be a squeaky wheel – come out and ask the tough questions and state your opinion. You can also post your comments right now in the comment box below and let’s start the conversation.

For those of you who don’t know about CIJA visit their website at

Here is Mr Fogel’s definition of advocacy, as written in a recent editorial in the CJN. His talk will address this view.

“True advocacy is about extending influence and winning support among those not already committed. Effective advocacy is about successful outreach to new sources of support, not providing emotional reassurance to those already persuaded of the righteousness of our cause” (for the full text click here)

I look forward to your participation.

“Be a Squeaky Wheel” – Please leave your questions below – join the conversation!

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  • David Ellenberg

    What is Mr. Fogel’s background and credentials?

  • Spencer Burger

    Um…Les Rothschild, exactly what did you mean by the following paragraph:

    “CIJA is not without controversy in our community. But I believe it is better to talk with each other rather than to ignore each other. Therefore, I urge you to join us and to voice your opinion.”

    Exactly what is controversial in “our community” about pro-Israel advocacy? And under what otherwise assumed circumstances would we be “ignoring each other” – the other, being CIJA, an organization made up of Jews and non-Jews from all political stripes who happen to support the state of Israel?

    Is HBT not a synagogue and place of worship for Jews, where pro-Israel advocacy, while maybe not universally supported, at least should be well within the realm of the non-controversial? A Jew does not have to agree with all of Israel’s actions or with the actions of pro-Israel organizations, but to suggest that the existence of such an organization to lobby on our community’s behalf is at all “controversial” seems be a political statement well beyond what is required of a Holy Blossom newsletter.

    • Les Rothschild

      Dear Spencer,

      Thank you for your response and your interest in our upcoming program. The controversy over CIJA is not necessarily related to their pro- Israel stand but to their advocacy in Canada and who they represent.

      Until recently there has been a gap in CIJA’s communication to parts of the community. CIJA’s recent outreach to our Rabbis, the eagerness to come and speak at Holy Blossom, and the recent initiation of an online blog for all points of view called “The Exchange” are indications that the organization is growing and interested in engaging with other mainstream organizations such as synagogues.

      As far as Israel advocacy goes, I’d like to quote DJ Schneeweiss, the Consul General of Israel, who spoke at Holy Blossom last week, “good advocacy is not about validating our own point of view. It’s about impacting on others in ways which advance our collective well-being.”

      Our program next week is a chance for all Holy Blossom members to hear directly from CIJA leadership and to have an opportunity to voice opinions about what they think the organization should be doing for us and the larger Jewish community.

      I look forward to meeting you next week and urge you to continue to be part of the conversation.


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