2020 Speakers

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Rabbi Edward FeinsteinRabbi Edward Feinstein is senior rabbi of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California and a lecturer on the faculty of the Ziegler Rabbinical School of the American Jewish University.
Raised in the back of his parents’ bakery on the frontiers of the West San Fernando Valley, Ed graduated with honors from the University of California at Santa Cruz, Columbia University Teachers College, and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he was ordained a rabbi and earned his doctorate in education.

Rabbi Feinstein is the author of five books. Tough Questions Jews Ask – A Young Adult’s Guide to Building a Jewish Life, (Jewish Lights, 2003), and Jews and Judaism in the Twenty-First Century (Jewish Lights, 2007), were both finalists for the National Jewish Book Award. Capturing the Moon (Behrman House, 2008) retells the best of classic and modern Jewish folktales. The Chutzpah Imperative, (Jewish Lights, 2014) traces the history of religious humanism in the Jewish tradition. In Pursuit of Godliness, is an intellectual biography of his mentor, Rabbi Harold Schulweis.
Rabbi Feinstein served as the founding head of the Solomon Schechter Academy of Dallas (now Levine Academy) and Associate Rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel in Dallas. In 1990, he became Executive Director of Camp Ramah in California. He came to Valley Beth Shalom in 1993 and became its senior rabbi in 2005.

Rabbi Feinstein lives in the epicenter of the San Fernando Valley with his wife Rabbi Nina Bieber Feinstein. Nina was the second woman ordained a rabbi by the Conservative Movement. The Feinstein’s are parents of three adult children (all married and employed!) and one small dog. Every Friday afternoon, he bakes brownies from a recipe revealed to his ancestors at Mount Sinai.

Bassem EidBassem Eid

SESSION SPEAKERS

HISTORY

Dr. Raphael DanzigerDr. Raphael Danziger is a professor, author, historian and noted commentator on Israeli history and Middle Eastern affairs and, due to popular demand, has become a frequent lecturer at Israel Today Community Symposiums. Dr. Danziger holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University, an M.A. from the University of Washington in Seattle, and a B.A. in Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Dr. Danziger has been a foreign policy analyst at the American Jewish Congress, a research consultant to American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and is Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of AIPAC’s monthly newsletter publication on the Middle East, newsletter, Near East Report.

Dr. Danziger has previously taught modern Middle Eastern history at the University of Haifa in Israel and the University of Washington in Seattle. He was also a visiting fellow at Princeton University and a consultant on Middle Eastern affairs at the Hudson Institute.  His op-eds have appeared in the New York Times and other leading newsletters.

Dr. Raphael Danziger’s Breakout Sessions will be: “Historical Basis for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” and “Israel’s Transition from an Agrarian to a Technological Society”

Asher SaidaAsher Saida an Israeli Sabra, was born and raised in Azur, a small town outside of Tel Aviv.  During his youth, Asher was active as the chair of the Likud Youth Party in his town.  He served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in an infantry unit in Gaza. After finishing his IDF service, Asher started a security business that had brought him to Dallas, where he subsequently married Rabbi Ariel Boxman, formerly the Rabbi Educator of Temple Shalom. They now live in Naples, Florida with their two young boys. Asher regularly is called upon to lecture on the nature of the Israeli political system and, in particular, the conflicts currently resulting from such system.

Asher Saida’s Breakout Session will be: “Historical Basis for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”

Lt. Col (Res.) Sarit ZehaviLt. Col (Res.) Sarit Zehavi served for 15 years in the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Corp., initially in the research and analysis section, and later with the IDF Northern Command.
She is the Founder and CEO of the Alma Research and Education Center, located in northern Israel, dedicated to researching and reporting on the activities of terrorist organizations in Lebanon and Syria and the security challenges on Israel’s northern border.

Lt. Col. Zehavi gives informative in-depth briefings on security developments in Lebanon and Syria to policy makers from around the world, including the United States, Europe, Australia and Israel.

She is recognized world-wide as an expert authority and impactful speaker on the security issues Israel faces today along the border of Israel with Lebanon and Syria.

Lt. Colonel (Res.) Zehavi holds an M.A. in Middle East Studies from Ben-Gurion University. She lives with her husband and five children in the village of Kfar Veradim, located in the Western Galilee of northern Israel.

Lt. Col. Zehavi’s Breakout Session will be: “Women in the Israel Defense Forces and their Challenges: The  Successful Story of a Female Lieutenant Colonel in the IDF”

CURRENT ISSUES AFFECTING ISRAEL

Lt. Col (Res.) Sarit ZehaviLt. Col (Res.) Sarit Zehavi served for 15 years in the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Corp., initially in the research and analysis section, and later with the IDF Northern Command.
She is the Founder and CEO of the Alma Research and Education Center, located in northern Israel, dedicated to researching and reporting on the activities of terrorist organizations in Lebanon and Syria and the security challenges on Israel’s northern border.

Lt. Col. Zehavi gives informative in-depth briefings on security developments in Lebanon and Syria to policy makers from around the world, including the United States, Europe, Australia and Israel.

She is recognized world-wide as an expert authority and impactful speaker on the security issues Israel faces today along the border of Israel with Lebanon and Syria.

Lt. Colonel (Res.) Zehavi holds an M.A. in Middle East Studies from Ben-Gurion University. She lives with her husband and five children in the village of Kfar Veradim, located in the Western Galilee of northern Israel.

Lt. Col. Zehavi’s Breakout Session will be: “Security Threats on Israel’s Northern Border and the Iranian Influence”

CONTRIBUTIONS TO ISRAEL

PANEL DISSCUSSIONS