Today is January 25, 2020 -

The Future?

Danish physicist and Nobel Prize recipient David Bohr said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”  Baseball Hall of Fame member Casey Stengel warned, “Never make predictions, especially about the future.”  Even our own Dr. Stephen Berk similarly responds when asked to predict future events, “I am not a navi (prophet).”

This past Sunday night, Ilana and I had the privilege of hearing the long-time National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and a world-renowned leader in the fight against anti-Semitism, Abe Foxman, address a group of Federation professional and lay leaders from around the country.  He told us that he was asked to predict the future of anti-Semitism in our country.  Like Bohr, Stengel, and Berk, he said that he could not predict the future; however, he believes that we (Federations) will be spending considerable time over the next few years defending Israel and fighting the BDS movement, especially on college campuses.

I try not to be too repetitive in my weekly writing, but there are a few things so important to me that I will do it anyway.  Foxman’s “prediction” scares me so much that I will again get on my soap box and firmly request that people come out this Thursday evening at 7:00 to Federation’s annual meeting to hear our key note speaker Eric Fingerhut, President & CEO of Hillel International, speak about Jewish life on campus.

And, even more firmly, I request that all graduating high school seniors and college students join us for an intimate dinner with Eric at 5:30 at Daughters of Sarah.

I am not a navi either, but I side with Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee Eric Hoffer, who said that “the only way to predict the future is to have power to shape the future.”  Or, as author Peter Drucker said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

I am willing to combat campus anti-Semitism over the next several years as Foxman has predicted that I will, but I would much rather empower our students to do it themselves.  My job is to make sure that our students have the tools.

Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York

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