Bret Stephens and Jonathan Greenblatt to speak at Temple Israel

Bret Stephens and Jonathan Greenblatt to speak at Temple Israel
Bret Stephens and Jonathan Greenblatt will be speaking at Temple Israel. (Photos courtesy of Temple Israel)

Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist Bret Stephens will speak at Temple Israel of Great Neck on Sunday, April 29, in conversation with Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

Stephens, widely respected for his “contrarian twist” on issues, will discuss a wide range of domestic and foreign topics with Greenblatt, a leader of one on the most respected civil rights organizations. They will then open the program to questions from the audience.

The presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Temple Israel Sanctuary. While there is no charge for the program, tickets are required for admission. They can be obtained online by going to:

“We at Temple Israel embrace diversity of opinions—especially now at this time in our deeply polarized country—and are proud to model a dialogue anchored in respect and openness,” said Temple Israel Vice President Lynn Weitzman, who was instrumental in securing the Stephens’ presentation.

Temple Israel Vice President Veronica Lurvey, who also played a key role in arranging for the program, said she wanted to bring Stephens to Temple Israel because “he is insightful about so many issues.”

“We have a highly intelligent, knowledgeable community which values someone who takes the time to be thoughtful,” Lurvey said. “I think everyone will find this to be a fascinating presentation.”

Stephens began his career at The Wall Street Journal as an op-ed editor. He later worked as an editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal Europe, in Brussels. In 2006, he took over the paper’s “Global View” column and in 2009 was named deputy editorial page editor.

For almost three years he served as editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post. He is also a frequent contributor to Commentary magazine and a political analyst for NBC.

He won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, recognizing his 2012 columns for The Journal for “incisive columns on U.S. foreign policy and domestic politics, often enlivened by a contrarian twist.”

An ardent supporter of Israel, he says that “it remains vitally important that support for Israel remains fully bipartisan, not simply for the sake of Israel itself, but also for the moral health of both Democratic and Republican parties.”

During the last presidential campaign he was part of the “Stop Trump Movement,” regularly writing Wall Street Journal articles opposing candidate Donald Trump.

“I have heard Bret Stephens speak on a number of occasions and he is always riveting and enlightening,” said Temple Israel Rabbi Howard Stecker. “We are thrilled that he will be appearing at our synagogue in conversation with the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt.”

Greenblatt, the chief executive of the ADL, leads all aspects of one of the most respected civil rights organizations in the country. Since taking the position in 2015, he has modernized the organization while re-focusing it on the dual mission it has had since its founding in 1913: to fight the defamation of the Jewish people, and to secure justice and fair treatment for all.

Greenblatt has been vocal in criticizing the use of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the State of Israel. He also led ADL’s creation of the #50StatesAgainstHate initiative pushing for strong hate crimes laws in every state after nine members of an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, were murdered by a white supremacist. Meanwhile, under Greenblatt, ADL continues its close collaboration on hate crimes with the FBI and law enforcement agencies coast to coast.

Prior to joining the ADL, he served in the White House as special assistant to President Obama and director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.

Rabbi Stecker said “Temple Israel respects and celebrates diversity in multiple realms, including ideological and political perspectives. Given our diversity, we are uniquely positioned in our community to present a range of thoughtful approaches to the most pressing issues of the day. In this regard, the evening with Bret Stephens and Jonathan Greenblatt will continue an important Temple Israel tradition.”

The program was made possible through a generous contribution from Rabbi Abraham B. Eckstein in memory of his late wife, Adele. Temple Israel of Great Neck, the region’s largest Conservative Jewish congregation, is located at 108 Old Mill Road. Further information about the program is available by calling 482-7800.

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