May 7, 2008 — President Richard M. Joel met with 46 faculty members and students from the Israel Defense Force’s National Defense College on Tuesday, April 29 to discuss how Orthodox Jewry fits within the greater context of American Jewish life. The college is Israel’s most elite institution preparing military officers, politicians, and foreign exchange students for senior positions in the IDF and government.
The group came to the United States on a nine-day trip to learn about the American Jewish community. “These encounters are a great learning and sharing opportunity and hopefully plant the seeds for future fruitful cooperation,” said Major General Gershon HaCohen, Commander of Israel’s military colleges.
The delegation chose Yeshiva University to represent the Orthodox community on their visit. They also visited Reform and Conservative organizations.
President Joel led the group in a discussion of the university’s Torah Umadda philosophy. “The Modern Orthodox community strives to be committed to Judaism and to be open and involved in the world,” said President Joel. “This is not easy as the world moves to extremes.” In a question and answer session with the delegates, President Joel also emphasized that the university’s commitment to Israel is “incredibly deep and unbreakable.”