Address by Mayor Nir Barkat, Mayor of the City of Jerusalem, at Groundbreaking of The Taube Family Campus

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Tad Taube and Mayor Nir Barkat

When we lay a foundation for a new building in the city of Jerusalem, I think what an honor we have to live in our generation, to be able to see, year after year, how we're rebuilding the city of Jerusalem.

My great-grandfather came from Russia in the 1920's, and unfortunately died in 1924. He is buried in the Mount of Olives just behind me. And when I stand at his grave and I look at the city today, I pinch myself about the world we live in today. Since he died, about 90 years ago, we have had the Holocaust. We have had the rejuvenation of our country. We have fought wars, and reunited the city of Jerusalem. And when I stand there on his grave, I see how our city is progressing year after year. And every time we build a new building for the benefit of the Jewish people, of our future, I think it's a huge honor for all the participants.

As mayor, I know how important it is that the city of Jerusalem becomes inclusive, and includes all parts of society. Similarly, when King David built the city of Jerusalem, and it was not given to a specific tribe, all tribes had a feeling of belonging to the city of Jerusalem, and the gates of the city were always open for Jews and non-Jews alike, to come and worship God, and see friends and peers. The philosophy of making all tribes feel comfortable in the city of Jerusalem is part of its success. As a matter of fact, I say to my friends in the City Council and the residents of Jerusalem, if there's a tribe that doesn't feel comfortable in the city of Jerusalem, Jerusalem is not fulfilling its role. That inclusiveness is deep in this city of peace, the Holy City, the City of Justice, the City of Jerusalem.

I've learned from Tamir Nir, one of the students at this College who until very recently was a Council Member in the City of Jerusalem and with whom I worked for two and a half years. I realize the value of what you contribute to the city of Jerusalem by representing an array of tribes of the Jewish people, in Israel, and the world. What I see every time I am here, and this is naturally not the first time, is your commitment, your love for the Jewish people in general, and for the city of Jerusalem. I know that students who graduate from your College study for a year in the city of Jerusalem and learn the city, its vibrance, its roots, and see the other tribes. To have a deep understanding of our city and of our future is critical to your success and the Jewish people's success. To come here and to see that we are going to enlarge the campus is a big honor. It's an understanding of the importance of rebuilding and strengthening this city, of representing all tribes, and of being part of the growth of our city.

Tad, I'm here to honor you, your foundation, and your family. That people come and help us build is not philanthropy, this is an investment, an investment in our future. This is something that is extremely important and that I value. I'm here on behalf of the people of Jerusalem and Israel to thank you for your contribution, and to wish the College lots of success. Seeing the campus rise in the years to come, every year, may we meet here, rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. Congratulations and God bless you.

Read More: The Taube Family Campus Named at Groundbreaking of Jerusalem Campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.