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Ambassador Dennis Ross Briefing on "Israel, Syria, Iran and the Middle East" at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Benefit Breakfast

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Friday, June 28, 2013

The guests attending the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Benefit Breakfast were addressed by Ambassador Dennis Ross in a briefing on “Israel, Syria, Iran, and the Middle East: The Challenge Ahead.”  The event raised $178,500 in support of student needs and academic programs.  It was co-chaired by Joy and Alan Greenberg, Marjorie and Morgan Miller, and Erica and Kevin Penn, and took place on June 13, 2013 at the Mandarin Oriental in New York.  The Dr. Bernard Heller Foundation and its co-trustees, Ruth Freedlander, Carole Weidman, and Meredith Nussbaum, sponsored the event. Marjorie Miller and Kevin Penn are co-chairs of HUC-JIR’s Eastern Region Board of Overseers.

Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, welcomed the audience of over 200 HUC-JIR supporters and their guests, alumni, and students, saying “We affirm the Reform Movement’s commitment to the State of Israel and its people through our Jerusalem campus.  Our programs and alumni are advancing religious pluralism and reform leadership for the Jewish State, while our first-year rabbinical, education, and cantorial students in the Year-In-Israel Program are imbued with an indelible connection to Israel and Jewish peoplehood.”

Rabbi Shirley Idelson, Dean of the New York campus, noted, “Ambassador Ross is a long-standing friend of HUC-JIR.  He received HUC-JIR’s high honor – the Dr. Bernard Heller Prize in 1997 – in recognition for his untiring efforts toward establishing peace in the Middle East.  He addressed the Cincinnati community at HUC-JIR’s 24th Annual Associates Tribute Dinner, and presented the International Count Folke Bernadotte Memorial Lecture at HUC-JIR in New York in 2006.”

Ambassador Ross reviewed the current turmoil in the Middle East, including the destabilization of Syria, Iran’s nuclear threat, and the stalemate in the Israel-Palestinian peace process.  He stated, “The greatest challenge to peace is the belief that nothing is happening.”

Ambassador Dennis Ross is Counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.  He has played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and dealing directly with the parties in negotiations in both the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.  He has served as Special Assistant to President Obama, Security Council Senior Director for the Central Region, and as Special Advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton focusing on Iran.

Pictured, top left: Ambassador Dennis Ross. Right: Rabbi Shirley Idelson, Dean, HUC-JIR/New York, introducing Ambassador Dennis Ross.

From right: Ambassador Dennis Ross with Rosalyn and Irwin Engelman, Chairman, Board of Governors

Ruth Freedlander, Co-Trustee, The Dr. Bernard Heller Foundation (center) with Ambassador Dennis Ross (left) and Rabbi David Ellenson

Morgan (right) and Marjorie Miller (left), Co-Chair, Eastern Region Board of Overseers and Member, Board of Governors, with Ambassador Dennis Ross

Alan (right) and Joy Greenberg (center), Member, Board of Governors, with Ambassador Dennis Ross

Erica (center) and Kevin Penn (left), Co-Chair, Eastern Region Board of Overseers, and Member, Board of Governors, with Rabbi David Ellenson

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, museums, 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.