Bloggers with Peres at Israeli Presidential Conference
The Israeli Presidential Conference, which took place June 19-21, was the largest conference I had ever attended. There were quite a lot of bloggers there, as the organizers invited them to come as members of the press. Since there were a ton of sessions and each person could only attend so many, my perspective on the conference would be quite narrow. So I have asked various blogger friends of mine to tell us about their best lesson and biggest disappointment from the conference.
Hannah Katsman, A Mother In Israel
The best part was exposure to brilliant minds from all over the world. The worst was the lack of discussion of social issues affecting children and families.
Elli Fischer, Adderabbi
Biggest lesson: If you walk around like a macher, people will treat you like a macher. The whole thing was a gigantic advertisement for companies, and the goal of the conference is to pamper and swoon over these big macher CEOs so that they invest more in Israel – the cumulative investment of Google, Cisco, Facebook, etc. more than pays for the conference. That’s what it’s all about.
Biggest disappointment: None really. I didn’t have high expectations.
Naomi Elbinger, My Parnassa
My best lesson was that you find amazing people at these conferences, so it’s worthwhile to say hello to everyone you meet. My biggest disappointment was that Shai Agassi didn’t show up and I missed Eric Schmidt. But apart from that I had a great time and have no complaints to the organizers.
Jonny Cline, UK Toremet
The two panels I made sure to go to were the social media one (during which I could not get an internet connection due to a systems’ overload – ironically), and the Philanthropy panel.
The Tomorrow of Jewish Philanthropy panel seemed to be, in my eyes, not only a complete misnomer, but I would go so far as to say that it was antithetical to the whole point of the President’s Conference.
There were exceptions:
Prof. Lawrence brought an enlightening case study of a traditional institution adapting its approach in order to connect with those who will ensure its future.
Ruben Troostwijk spoke as a member of the younger generation, and made points that should be taken onboard by the other members of the panel.
My overall impression was that the panel, despite the efforts of the two speakers mentioned, was a pathetic demonstration of why the Jewish “Institution” will unfortunately not succeed in enlisting the support of the future Jewish world. It is a shame, especially as it would not be an impossible task to accomplish, but trying desperately to hide a stubborn unwillingness to actually change by trying to market it in new-media-speak will not be enough to revitalise support for an organisation that really needs to get with the program and look at how to be relevant in the future, not the past.
There were a couple of lessons to be learned, and I would have tweeted them during the panel.
I was extremely disappointed. Last year I had access to every session, this year due to different security, I had access to none. They were all full… I met the best people in the halls and had the most fun!
Marna Becker, Times of Israel
I tweeted at the conference something Dr. Ruth said that was always obvious, but needed to be reiterated: “If you teach with humor, students will remember what they learn”. Also, President Peres said, ” Do not look for perfection or you will make mistakes,” during the “mistakes on the way to tomorrow” panel. The lessons from these individuals were indeed the most valuable. The biggest disappointment was the lack of focus on children and education.
I actually ended up being really fascinated by the other bloggers I met. It was kind of like looking in a mirror and wondering if that’s what I really look like.
But seriously, I think it was more obvious to me what was missing, as lots of people seem to have mentioned – the ‘issues’ of women, ethnicity, religion, other social topics. My favorite session was the last I attended, with a panel of Israeli artists of different backgrounds talking about what makes them make art.
If you attended the Presidential Conference, please tell us what your best lessons and biggest disappointments were by leaving a comment below.