Josh Mann visits the AJW and talks about the recent Federation-sponsored LGBTQ Mission to Israel
By MORDECAI SPECKTOR
Tel Aviv’s annual Gay Pride Parade, on June 3, attracted some 200,000 people. Although Amir Ohana, an openly gay Knesset member from the Likud Party, received extra police protection because of threats against him, according to a report in Haaretz, the celebration went off without a hitch.
However, it’s likely that many of the Israeli revelers were in tears this week, after receiving news of the Sunday massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. A crazed gunman, ostensibly pledging allegiance to ISIS, killed 49 people in the club, and wounded dozens more.
Josh Mann (left) visits with Daniel Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, and his wife, Julie Fisher, a Duluth native, at their home in Herzliya Pituach, May 31 (Photo: Courtesy of Josh Mann).
As it happens, local Jewish activist Josh Mann participated in a May 26-June 2 LGBTQ Mission to Israel sponsored by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), the umbrella group of Jewish Federations. (LGBTQ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning or queer.)
During a visit to the AJW offices last week, Mann talked about his notably Zionist family and his impressions from the recent mission.
Mann’s group of 120 Jews from across the United States — “a very accomplished, impressive set of people,” he notes, “a very high achieving crowd” — was accorded VIP status during its tour of the Jewish state.
“The JFNA really pulled out all the stops,” Mann explains. “One day we had lunch with the president [Reuven Rivlin], the next day we had dinner with the U.S. ambassador [Daniel Shapiro], access to high-level Israeli celebrities, business leaders…. They brought celebrity chefs.” Jerry Silverman, JFNA president and CEO, who was in Israel on business, also greeted the LGBTQ mission participants.
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