David Siegel, Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles since August 2011, spoke about the ever-changing situation in the Middle East as well as the many powerful – but non-political – events taking place in Israel during a January 31, 2012, appearance at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s Jack H. Skirball Campus.
The senior representative of the State of Israel to the Southwestern United States used his visit as an opportunity to raise another important question: How do we discuss Israel and North American Jewry in a way that makes people feel comfortable taking part in the conversation?
Siegel broached these topics with his audience of students and faculty, then opened the floor to questions. What followed was a continuation on some of the same themes – Israel’s position in the Middle East – but also new ones. Siegel focused on positive developments taking place within Israel, the power of its diversity, and the importance of exposing Israelis to American Judaism in order to promote understanding.
Over the years, Siegel has served as Chief of Staff to Israel’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and worked at the Embassy of Israel in Washington D.C., where he was deeply involved in policy coordination with the State Department, the National Security Council and the White House. He was Israel's voice to the Washington press corps and liaison to the U.S. Congress, where he was responsible for security cooperation, missile defense and homeland security.
Siegel graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in political science and received a master’s degree in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Boston. He served as a Commander in the Israel Defense Forces.
Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first 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 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. www.huc.edu