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Monday, November 17, 2008

Faye with Tzipi Livini and the Governor of Michigan! What a Week!

Jan Greenfield, our Israeli staff person and myself connected with hundreds of people personally throughout the conference and at our table, which was a constant hub of activity. We had three phenomenal events that put us over the top.

First, there was our workshop. We were told that because of the timing (Saturday at 2:15pm) with many people out for Shabbat, we might only get 5-10 people. 130 showed up! We had to bring in more chairs—twice. People were turned away at the door. Faye had the whole room hanging on her every word.

Next we had a private reception at the hotel room of Diane and Howard Wohl for a dozen of her friends. Just as we started the governor of Michigan, Jennifer M. Granholm, came in to hear what Faye had to say. On meeting the governor again in the elevator she thanked me for introducing her to Faye, and took some material. Looks like we have a good shot to get into their schools now as well.

With barely an hour for Faye to rest, we then took a taxi to the Port of Tel Aviv to the exclusive Hanger 11, where the evening’s event was taking place—a gala dinner with 1,400 people – honoring women soldiers of Israel. Faye had to rehearse with the event director and their staff before the guests came. The opening ceremony included young Israeli folk dancers who got the whole Lions crown on their feet.

The keynote speaker was Tzipi Livni, sitting at the next table. When Livni arrived it was a media event with dozens of cameras and her security detail. One of the only requests for the whole week Faye made of me was to get a photo of her with the foreign minister. It took some pushing through the crowd, but we got it.

When it was Faye’s turn to speak, she was introduced with her photographs projected on the walls around the 140 tables. The visuals were spectacular. In her speech, she insisted she thank JPEF and me personally (I tried to dissuade her on the latter) for all the work we do—people clapped. When she was finished speaking Brigadier General Yehudit Grisaro came up with another woman soldier from the IDF and Faye literally passed the torch to the general, who passed it to young soldier. They held hands and the entire audience shot up giving them a loud and long-standing ovation.

After the dinner there was dancing and Einat Sharuf, a well known Israeli singer, performed. People took this opportunity to get a photo with Faye or speak with her. She touched many lives this week. (More photos on our Flickr account soon to follow).

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