(Courtesy of Young Israel of Scarsdale) In a time when defending Israel in the media is often unpopular, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens has distinguished himself by doing just that—making him the perfect keynote speaker for the inaugural installment, co-sponsored by Israel Bonds, of the Young Israel of Scarsdale’s Spring Israel Lecture Series on the topic of “Israel at 70: Where Do We Go From Here?”
Speaking to a packed house on April 23, Stephens provided crucial talking points for audience members wishing to defend Israel from its frequently harsh critics. As the evening progressed, Stephens transitioned to a Q&A format, moving the discussion to topics as varied as the relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the reality of a two-state solution, and the importance of educating and inspiring young adults about Israel. In answering the question of the evening, “Where do we go from here,” Stephens ultimately concluded that while it is fine and natural for people to have differing positions on Israeli politics, we must all come together and recognize the importance of Israel to all the Jewish people; that will be what sustains our country in the next 70 years and beyond. YIS Rabbi Jonathan Morgenstern said, “Bret Stephens is a true ohev Yisrael, whose unwavering commitment and support of the Jewish state and am Yisrael, in print and in person, is a credit to our people.”
On Wednesday, May 2, YIS welcomed Dovid Efune, editor-in-chief of the Algemeiner Journal, to discuss “Israel in the Information Age: Winning the Battle of Ideas.” On Wednesday, May 9, the series closed with New York Times editor and writer Bari Weiss discussing “Israel and the Progressive Left.”
YIS is able to welcome these highly sought-after speakers thanks to the shul’s Living Torah Fund, established by YIS members to serve as a perpetual memorial for loved ones through engagement in high-level and high-impact Jewish learning and programming. In the past, the fund has brought in speakers such as Alan Dershowitz, Dr. Daniel Gordis, Bret Stephens, Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveitchik and others; YIS will continue to draw on this fund to engage its membership and the greater community in cutting-edge discussions for years to come. For more information on the Spring Israel Lecture Series or other YIS events, please visit www.yisny.org or call 914-636-8686.