Birds of a feather flocking together

Reporter's Notebook: There is also something comforting about wanting to flock together when you all feel strongly about the same issues.

May 1, 2012 23:13
2 minute read.
'Jerusalem Post' Conference panel.

Jerusalem Post Conference panel 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

NEW YORK – I’ve run conferences and covered several as a reporter, but to date, I’ve never attended one of my own accord – or out of my own pocketbook – and was wondering who does and why.

On Sunday, I covered The Jerusalem Post’s first (and successful, judging by its attendance figures and the news that came out of it) conference in New York.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

The registration area felt part-AIPAC, part Nefesh B’Nefesh: long lines, gift bags filled with stuff you don’t need but carry around with you anyway (Tourism Ministry brochures highlighting Israel’s holy sites, El Al toy airplanes, IDB Bank pens), booths inviting you to sample the wares (and branded mini-chocolate bars) of the American Zionist Movement, real estate companies, eight-minute highlight reels featuring Theodor Herzl’s accomplishments, and Colel Chabad pushkes planted throughout to raise money for the widows and orphans of Jerusalem.

In the large conference hall itself, there was a series of speeches with varying mixtures of hard-won perspective, bravado and news nuggets. In between, I took the opportunity to speak with attendees whenever and wherever I could find them – sitting next to me, in the ladies’ room, and at the lunch buffet (an East- West Jewish fusion of sliders and kebabs, salads and stuffed grape leaves).

One woman I met runs a Jewish nonprofit in London and came to hear Prof. Alan Dershowitz. She thought his brand of pro-Israel eloquence, political astuteness and high ethical standards was something she wanted to import to the UK and put into action there.

Another attendee I spoke to was from the US. She and her husband are “good friends with [former prime minister] Ehud Olmert.”

She leans to the left politically and had been hoping there would be more “Olmert types” there.

I also met an evangelical Christian man from the South who called himself a “Jewtile” (a Jewish gentile); he strongly believes in Israel and wants to live there, though he’s never been. He came to the conference to “support the Jews” and to urge our homecoming to the Holy Land... so that his rapture would soon follow.

Generally speaking, the majority of the crowd consisted of inquisitive middle-aged or older Jewish folk, and several families with teenage children, who had come to hear Israeli statesmen and Jewish leaders speak about issues they cared about, voice opinions with which they agreed, or kvetch about such questions as, “Why do the media constantly portray Israel in a negative light?” Many came to gain an insider’s glimpse into the facts on the ground from people who actually live, breathe and work in Israel.

At the end of the day, I understood that despite the disputes aired throughout the conference, there is also something comforting – and very human – about wanting to flock together like birds of a feather, especially when you all feel strongly about the same issues – such as the future of Israel and the Jewish people.

And the most articulate among them were there on stage, just a short distance away, arguing for their positions more passionately and persuasively than most of us in the audience could.

Related Content

Supreme Court President Asher Grunis
August 28, 2014
Grapevine: September significance