US election in spotlight at Limmud Fest
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US election in spotlight at Limmud Fest

The divisive US election will be over just three weeks ahead of Limmud Fest, where American Rabbi Robert Kaplan will discuss its likely impact on Jews.

Rabbi Robert Kaplan.
Rabbi Robert Kaplan.

THE result of one of the most gripping and divisive elections in US history will be known just three weeks ahead of Limmud Fest, where New York-based Rabbi Robert Kaplan will deliver a highly anticipated presentation on its likely impact on Israel, American Jews and the Diaspora.

Rabbi Kaplan, an expert in inter-community development from the Jewish Communal Relations Council of New York, is one of four international speakers in a dynamic line-up of 35 presenters to feature at the November 25-27 event at Myuna Bay, Lake Macquarie.

He told The AJN while his talk will be shaped “by who will be the winner on November 8, the focus will be deeper – an exploration of the causes and effects of an era of sweeping change in American, and Jewish American, society”.

“We have a rather volatile competition of candidates … truly cut from quite a different cloth and set of experiences,” Rabbi Kaplan said.

“Hillary Clinton is seen as the ultimate insider versus Donald Trump, who has positioned himself as the ultimate outsider.

“Whoever wins, we will have a president who will be breaking new ground – either the first woman or the first person never to have held a public office or government position.

“Both have come to their roles as candidates as a result of a historic change in the political and demographic landscape in the US, and the impact of that change on the electorate.”

Rabbi Kaplan said, likewise, the Jewish population in the US, and particularly New York, is becoming more diverse.

“Present polls and studies show the Jewish community is predominantly supporting the Democratic Party candidate Clinton, in line with historical norms, but what is outside this norm are the reasons why.

“There is the juxtaposition of change [between] what are called ‘Israel Firsters’ versus the impact of a generational shift of connection to, or attitudes towards, Israel, and issues of traditional Jewish concern as a primary point of identification and focus for making political and communal choices.

“This is evidenced through the lens of the Bernie Sanders campaign, and its messaging is of deep concern to many within the Israel advocacy community. How this will play out in any next administration is something to be monitored.”

Limmud Fest offers a fun-filled weekend away for all the family, combining stimulating presentations exploring Jewish ideas with outdoor activities, music, Shabbat celebrations and delicious meals.

For more information, visit www.shalom.edu.au

SHANE DESIATNIK

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