ari goldstein 224.88.
(photo credit: Courtesy www.annapolistemple.org)
No date has been set for the Annapolis summit and it is still unclear whether the conference will even take place, but the Jews of Annapolis are already planning peace rallies, protests and prayers.
Rabbi Ari Goldstein of Temple Beth Shalom in Annapolis said he was "thrilled" at the prospect that his town could soon become the focus of attention for Jews around the world. He said his Reform synagogue was planning a peace rally for the beginning of December with music, food and a march to the World War II Memorial overlooking the Annapolis Naval Academy where the summit is set to take place.
"I am confident that the Israelis and Palestinians are going to try to make Annapolis into a true house of peace," said Goldstein, whose synagogue's name means house of peace in Hebrew. "Beth Shalom is a great supporter of peace and nothing would make me happier than peace emerging from our own backyard."
Goldstein, who leads missions to Israel every two years, said the summit would provide Annapolis with an opportunity to showcase itself to the Jewish and Zionist world. He said he would invite the head of the Israeli delegation to the summit, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, to read from the Torah at his synagogue.
Steven Forman, who attends Beth Shalom, said he hoped Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries would send representatives to the summit. He said he would attend the peace rally and would invite the Israeli and Arab delegations to his home for breakfast.
Beth Shalom is the town's largest synagogue, with some 270 families. The Orthodox Kneseth Israel synagogue boasts a Jewish day school.
Annapolis also has a Conservative synagogue named Kol Ami and a Chabad house.
Stuart Schoenberg, who is a member of Kneseth Israel, said he was much less enthusiastic about the summit than Goldstein. Schoenberg said he would join protests against the summit that are expected to take place.
"Israel should not be pressured every time there is a president at the end of his term looking out for his legacy," Schoenberg said. "We should not create a terrorist state."
Rabbi Nochum Light of the Chabad of Anne Arundel County said he would not give his political opinion about the summit, but that he would be ready to provide kosher food, lodging and Shabbat services to its participants.
Light said that during the summit his synagogue would host special prayers "for the safety of Israel and the peace of the Jewish people."