The Israel Heritage Foundation has made a distinct name for itself in the Conservative sphere. This past Sunday evening, September 18, in celebration of Rosh HaShanah, the organization once again invited former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an expected presidential candidate in 2024, for a VIP reception at Mike’s Bistro in Manhattan.
Rabbi Duvid Katz, Executive Director of IHF, works alongside Dr. Joseph Frager, Executive Vice President of IHF, to advance causes near and dear to Eretz Yisrael. Their efforts are championed by Jerry Wartski, honorary president and a Holocaust survivor, for whom IHF strives to honor.
For his checklist of strides for Israel, Pompeo was presented the Shofar Award by Dr. Frager, symbolizing his place as a shofar to the nation of Israel, and for his genuine clarity in that respect for always being a leading light and a beacon to Eretz Yisrael.
In his keynote address, the former CIA director focused on discipline, faithfulness, and commitment. He stressed how we must always go out to do what we know to be true, fair, and correct, as this is what his work in Israel stemmed from. “You recognize that Israel is the rightful homeland – this is just a fact, despite the naysayers who persist that Israel still has a conceptual right not to exist.”
Pompeo spoke of a recent trip to Nablus, Hebron, Shilo, and areas of the Judea and Samaria regions that he was not able to visit during his position as Secretary of State. He highlighted his visit to the M’aras HaMachpeilah, saying, “It is impossible to stand there and not realize that this is the Jewish homeland, and that G-d brought his tribes to this place; the fact that the world does not recognize this is indecent.” He continued that, in spite of The New York Times and those in the Trump administration who claimed that recognizing Israel would lead to World War III, “It was decent, right, and our duty; and to do anything different would have been inconsistent with our faith and belief in G-d.”
In Pompeo’s own words, “When you do what G-d commands, He smiles upon you. When one understands duty, I am convinced G-d will watch over us.”
Pompeo expressed that we must seek out good partners, like the United States and Israel, because together they can deliver security for people all over world.
On the ongoing tension regarding Iran, Pompeo noted that President Biden simply wants to restore the glory of the Obama days, and that the current methodology is cynical and incoherent with vindictiveness, since there are Arab leaders who believe that Iranians can bring about stability.
Dr. Frager left the readers of the Queens Jewish Link with a unique message for the New Year. The world is up against three major issues: Iran, Russia, and the economy. In the past year, Israel gained much prestige for economically going to lengths in ethics, military, and technology, and remains a leader for the rest of the world, just as the Navi Yeshayahu – the Prophet Isaiah – explained. Dr. Frager predicts that the three issues will find their resolutions this upcoming year, leaving open opportunities for a better world.
Dr. Steven Soloway, Executive VP of IHF and a noted rheumatologist, called Pompeo a man who “transcends” and understands the world and its conflicts, such as the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia. “There will never be another Holocaust with Pompeo at the helm.”
Jonathan Burkan was awarded a talis ahead of the New Year because of his love of donning it in the presence of HaKadosh Baruch Hu. Burkan was present at the signing of the Abraham Accords and joined Jared Kushner in Washington for an anniversary celebration. “Without Pompeo, this would have been a mere dream.”
Christine Lederman, a Utah entrepreneur in the skincare field, traveled in to share her love for Israel. “America, the proud and beautiful, is the most powerful country, with her freedom, capitalism, and religious choice. This has provided Lederman unlimited changes to go from a welfare mom to form a world brand in skincare that aids burn patients and those with congenital facial issues to become recognized as an industry leader. “Capitalism is not greed; we are all here because we embrace the capitalist compassion and philanthropic donations juxtaposed with Israel leading to a relationship that is sustained based on similar beliefs for opportunity and the chance of success.”
Rabbi Katz explained that, “according to the Talmud, wine can be used to either make a person joyful – noting its use at a wedding, bris, on Shabbos, Biblical sacrifices, and of course a l’chayim – but it can also inebriate a person leading to being untrusted. Pompeo was the only chosen official to have a Golan winery name a wine in his honor, and for this we can trust his word.”
Rabbi Meir Melnicke spoke of the happiness in that Hashem gave us the land, as individuals, because the world was created for each of us and Israel was in turn given to us in the same light. However, this means that her protection is our individual responsibility, a tradition that Pompeo easily recognized.
Dr. Frager explained that Adam HaRishon was born on Rosh HaShanah, making this time of the year crucial for the Jewish world, as Hashem is closest to us at this time.
In attendance was Edward F. Cox, son-in-law of President Richard Nixon – the president who single-handedly saved Israel back in 1973 when they were in battle against the Egyptians, Syrians, and other Arab countries in the Yom Kippur War.
Dr. Frager also spoke of a conversation that President Truman had with his rabbi following the guilt he felt on bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki each with an atom bomb, to which the rabbi said that recognizing the State of Israel would bring him consolation.
Kenneth S. Abramowitz, co-founder and Managing General Partner of NGN Capital, delivered a State of the World address, dividing enemy nations into the Reds (Communist/Socialist – Russia, China, and North Korea), the Greens (Islamists – Iran), and the Blues (Globalists – World Economic Forum, social media empires). He explained that these powers are angered that we believe in the pursuit of happiness for all, as opposed to a mere ten percent of people like they often believe. So, to win against these enemies, we must keep believing that life and liberty are there for all, and that warfare is more than the Communist Chinese belief that it is a physical, cultural, economic, legal, demographic, or sovereign fight. He stated that passion and great leadership like that of Mike Pompeo are the key to survival, and that we should not fear speaking out when we feel something is amiss.
Farley Weiss, Chairman of the IHF and former president of the National Council of Young Israel, stated that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took on the policies that were best for the United States, using the formula of improving relationships with allies and weakening those with our enemies. One case in point was the elimination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad by a drone strike ordered by US President Donald Trump. This death halted the Iranian development of nuclear weapons until the Biden administration. Amongst other accolades, he hailed Pompeo for his courage to halt payments to Palestinian murderers of Americans and Israelis. Moreover, the PA could not condemn the Olympic massacre because they financed it.
Commissioner Sam Nachmias stated that IHF’s mission of protecting Holocaust survivors is unique in that most just wanted a place – Israel – to call their home. Nachmias spoke of his ancestors who escaped persecution and how his father rose to be a bodyguard to Ben-Gurion. He also pointed out that although Israel is 100th in global population, it is 28 on the list of gross domestic product, and the Israeli military is ranked 18. Daniel Everhart, who went to Israel with Frager, explained how Ambassador Friedman helped to get things done. “I was struck by the chance for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Israel is the tip of the spear, and America needs to spend time in unison.”
Brock Pierce, who gained fame as a child actor in The Mighty Ducks, went on to be a pioneer in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry. He spoke of Israel as a hub of innovation and how New York must again rise to be safe for families. He iterated that Mayor Adams and his history with the NYPD can very well be the savior needed. Nonetheless, Pierce spoke of the ever-present food insecurity plaguing the world.
Much appreciation is extended to Judah and Carol Rhine, dinner coordinators, and Jonathan Burkan, Dr. Gene Berkovich, and Commissioner Sam Nachmias, dinner co-chairmen, for their pristine work in organizing the evening. In attendance was Inspector Richie Taylor, Commanding Officer, NYPD Community Affairs Bureau; Joel Eisdorfer, Senior Advisor to NYC Mayor Eric Adams; and Rachel Ehrenfeld, a journalist for The Wall Street Journal, who focuses on the money trail in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
By Shabsie Saphirstein