Year-in-Israel Students Meet Yitzchak Navon and Eli Amir - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Year-in-Israel Students Meet Yitzchak Navon and Eli Amir

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Thursday, January 24, 2013
Every month, the Jerusalem campus holds a special culture evening for the Year-in-Israel students, including meetings with writers and screenings of films. Recently, the invited guest was to be acclaimed author Eli Amir, who asked if he could bring his friend, former president, Yitzchak Navon.  Amir and Navon have been friends since the early 1950s when Amir was a messenger boy at the Prime Ministers office and Navon was working for then Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion.

Naamah Kelman, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, who began the evening with words of welcome, stated, “Year-in-Israel students were given a gift with the fifth President of Israel Yitzchak Navon's presence at an evening devoted to Sephardic Culture in Israel.  Joining Eli Amir, celebrated novelist, and regular guest of the Year-in-Israel program, our students enjoyed an unusual evening listening to two Israel greats.”

Year-in-Israel students were quite surprised by the ease with which a former President of the country slipped into their lives for an evening. Apart from enjoying the warm reception he received, and also listening to Eli Amir's presentation, Yitzchak Navon also addressed the students at the end, encouraging them in their work. In particular, he stressed the need to hold firm in one's beliefs, values and commitments. He finished by remarking that in his life, he had the privilege of working for the greatest Jewish leader of the last 2000 years, David Ben Gurion, who was his inspiration.

Jeremy Leigh, head of the Israel Studies program and chair of the evening, stated, "The event was wonderful - an unexpected opportunity and one filled with excitement on the part of the students and a recognition that they were being afforded an opportunity to meet with people who were witnesses to dramatic chapters of the Jewish People. I think that Yitzchak Navon reveled in the warmth which greeted him."

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 leaders to serve 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.