“Never say never!” is a phrase that I learned at a very young age. The fact is that those things that we deem impossible in one age can become a reality in the next. A year ago, if I had been asked when an accord would be signed among Morocco, Bahrain, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, and the United States that began with the following words:
We, the undersigned, recognize the importance of maintaining and strengthening peace in the Middle East and around the world based on mutual understanding and coexistence, as well as respect for human dignity and freedom, including religious freedom.
We encourage efforts to promote interfaith and intercultural dialogue to advance a culture of peace among the three Abrahamic religions and all humanity,
my response would not have been “never”, but rather, “some years down the road”. How wrong I would have been. The Abraham Accords mark a watershed in the Middle East. A new era of trade, travel, culture exchanges, the sharing of scientific breakthroughs, and a renewed hope in the greater security for all people in the region has begun.
Anshe Emet has long prided itself on being a congregation that serves as a forum for the discussion of important ideas, events, and issues that face us locally and globally. Yesterday, we were honored to co-sponsor an event with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs with representatives of Morocco, academicians, diplomats, and the larger Jewish community to discuss the implications of the Abraham Accords. Marilyn Diamond, the Honorary Consul General of Morocco to Chicago, and a member of our community, led a remarkable panel discussion. We were also honored to hear from Andre Azoulay, the Counselor and most Senior Advisor to King Mohammed VI of Morocco and a man who has represented the Jewish community in remarkable ways. I am happy that we can now share a recording of this event with our community and the wider public.
I hope that you will take the time to watch A Story of Hope, Light and Joy: The Renormalization of Relations Between Israel and Morocco and celebrate an historic moment for the people of Israel and an opportunity for all people of the Middle East to live in peace.
Michael S. Siegel
Anshe Emet Synagogue