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A Celebration of Israel’s 70th Anniversary and Beit Hatfutsot’s 40th Anniversary

Friends of Israel and Beit Hatfutsot gathered on January 9, 2018 for a memorable event launching the celebration of Israel’s 70th Anniversary and Beit Hatfutsot’s 40th Anniversary. The evening was held in conjunction with Operation Finale: The Capture and Trial of Adolf Eichmann, Beit Hatfutsot, the Mossad and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage’s landmark exhibition on display for its last week at New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Senator Joseph Lieberman, Honorary Chair of Beit Hatfutsot’s International Board of Governors, welcomed the guests. He stressed the significance of the evening and the importance of  Beit Hatfutsot in demonstrating An Age-Old Story in Constant Renewal, the theme of the evening. He cited an adage from his late mother who said that one should always find an opportunity to celebrate and added that the evening was indeed a double simcha–ushering in the 70th anniversary of the modern State of Israel and Beit Hatfutsot’s 40th. “I am grateful to be alive in the greatest time in Jewish history with the reestablishment of the State of Israel in the Land of Israel and for the blessings we have as Jews in our time. “It was on Israel’s 30th anniversary that Beit Hatfutsot opened as the Museum of the Jewish  Diaspora as the venue in  Israel where Jewish life abroad was displayed. Beit Hatfutsot is a singularly important institution for all those who love and are interested in the Jewish people, Judaism, Jewish history and the role Jews have played for millennia, and continue to play in the world. My commitment to Beit Hatfutsot emanates from the fact that every person, regardless of their degree of religious observance, finds their place in the timeline of history as it is presented in this great enterprise.”

Ambassador Dani Dayan, Consul General of Israel in New York, highlighted his connection to Beit Hatfutsot where his daughter celebrated her Bat Mitzvah. He hopes that his grandchildren’s smachot will be held at the New Museum of the Jewish People.

Ambassador Dayan stated that the founding of the independent sovereign State of Israel is a monumental chapter in history. “It was established because we remembered that we have a common history, a common present and a common future. Beit Hatfutsot is a connector between Israel and the Jewish People. It encapsulates the need to guarantee the existence and well-being of Israel as well as guarantee the continuity of the Jewish people wherever they reside. There is no future for the Jewish people without Israel and no raison d’etre for Israel without the Jewish people.”

Efraim Halevy, the keynote speaker, the 9th Director of the Mossad and the 4th National Security Advisor of the State of Israel, spoke about Statesmanship at the Crossroads of Existential Dilemmas. He addressed the behind-the-scene considerations that led to the capture of Adolf Eichmann and to bringing him to justice in Israel.  Mr. Halevy revealed, for the  first time, publicly, how  that decision  affected Israel’s long-lasting relations with key foreign  countries,  the Cold  War,  the strategic parameters in the Middle East as well as its current implications. In his remarks, he stressed the indelible link between Israel and the diaspora, and that neither Israel and the Jews of the world can flourish without the continued existence of the Gordian knot binding them. Over his career so many outstanding accomplishments in Jewish-Israeli strategy were achieved through the efforts of Israel in tandem with the Jewish People.  “Israel has freed us from the Galut syndrome. You are the diaspora and every Jew wherever he or she is, has a virtual single share in Israel.” He added: “That is why Beit Hatfutsot represents worldwide Jewish unity and that is why it is not only the Museum of the Jewish People, but also the museum of every Israeli Jew, and it speaks to each and every one of us. We must never forget this primary aspect of our historic bond-we are and shall remain inseparable.” Statesmanship at the Crossroad of Existential Dilemmas: Remarks by Efraim Halevy

Ambassador Alfred Moses, co-chair of our International Board of Governors, reiterated what Efraim Halevy stated that “Beit Hatfutsot is the institutional embodiment of the history of the Jewish People.” He added that we are all the Jewish People whether we reside in Israel, the United States or elsewhere around the world. We come together at Beit Hatfutsot to celebrate our history and to look to our future.” In introducing Irina Nevzlin, he stressed that no one deserves more praise for what Beit Hatfutsot is today and what it will be in the future than Irina. Considered today as one of the leading personalities in Jewish life around the world, and under her glorious leadership, she is spearheading the rebirth of our enterprise.

Irina Nevzlin, Chair of Beit Hatfutsot’s Board of Directors said: “The mission of our enterprise is to uncover hidden Jewish stories around the globe and give the Jewish people reasons to be proud of their many successes. We want our younger generations to be inspired by their heritage. As such we aim to educate all Jewish people about their roots and help them realize what an amazing family they belong to.”  She announced the creation of the Tisch Center for Jewish Dialogue, which will allow Beit Hatfutsot to serve as a platform and voice on issues of unity and mutual understanding. She indicated that Beit Hatfutsot was only $6 million away from reaching its $100 million goal to make the New Museum of the Jewish People a reality and invited all the guests to its opening at the end of 2019.

Daniel Pincus, President of the American Friends of Beit Hatfutsot brought the audience to to the venue as he introduced a moving video that paid tribute and chronicled the dismantling of the current core exhibition as the museum begins work on Phase Two of its renewal project. This exhibition served Beit Hatfutsot magnificently for almost 40 years providing such meaningful and cherished experiences for millions of people.  He added “Now the countdown has begun: in less than two years the new Core Exhibition of the Museum of the Jewish People, will be unveiled.

Stephen M. Greenberg, Chair of the Conference of President of Major Jewish Organizations and past president of the American Friends of Beit Hatfutsot, paid tribute to Harvey M. Krueger and Irwin Hochberg, two legendary leaders, pillars of the community, whose recent passing is an enormous loss for the Jewish people, the State of Israel and Beit Hatfutsot. With their pioneering spirit, unwavering support and trust in our people’s future, Irwin and Harvey will continue to guide the many people who were fortunate to be in their orbit. Their legacies will remain forever.

Dan Tadmor, CEO of Beit Hatfutsot, introduced a riveting video tribute to Leonard Cohen:  “Creativity is a significant component of Jewish identify. That is why at the Museum of the Jewish People we always have exhibitions and displays depicting Jewish creation and great Jewish artists.” The installation centers on footage of a young Leonard Cohen, still an unknown poet in 1965 and is interwoven with Israeli artists listening to his final track You Want it Darker in which he quotes the Kaddish and culminates with the chorus Hineni, Hineni.  Leonard Cohen passed away three weeks after he recorded the song. Dan invited the audience to see the tribute to Leonard Cohen currently on display at Beit Hatfutsot.

The evening concluded with a musical performance by Tamar Eisenman, singer, songwriter and musician, one of Israel’s new unique voices and an original composition by Bodi, Sam Bodenheimer, founder of Spices/Bsamim Music Group, ending with a rousing rendition of Hatikvah.

Watch Irina Nevzlin’s speech at the gala:


Beit Hatfutsot