Well, the project is still sauntering along under the watchful eye of President Katzav, although no one else seems to be watching at all. A week after the event, JTA and the Jerusalem Post have remembered to report that the 'Beit Yisrael World Jewish Forum,' as it's now called, held its inaugural gathering and that the forum will convene properly in its full format for the first time next year.
And I confess, I was wrong, completely wrong about the whole project. It is a breath of fresh air and heralds a new era in Israeli-Diaspora relations, indeed gives Jewish communities everywhere hope that someone will finally come up with some creative solutions to their problems.
- The big questions are already being asked: “My big question is: Will it succeed or not?” (Yossi Beilin)
- Incisive observations are already being made: "“The Jewish world.... [is in] a crisis.” (Stephen Savitsky)
- Profound Jewish thinkers are being recruited: "Stephen Savitsky, president of the Orthodox Union, suggested that prominent Jews such as computer mogul Michael Dell, comedian Jerry Seinfeld and film director Steven Spielberg should be included."
- Admin expenses are being tightly controlled so that funds can be spent on the ground: The meeting took place "Over breakfast this week at the King David Hotel"
- The Lieblers and the Singers are not being allowed anywhere near each other: well, not exactly. "[N]ewly installed chairman of the Keren Hayesod-UIA World Board of Trustees, Mark Leibler, took Israel Singer, chairman of the governing board of the World Jewish Congress, to task for claiming that larger Jewish communities could take care of themselves."