July 15, 2024
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Jason Greenblatt Addresses Yavneh Seventh Graders

Yavneh Academy seventh graders were privileged to meet with Jason Greenblatt, senior director of Arab-Israel Diplomacy at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, as part of their unit in Advisory “Do Not Stand Idly By” where faculty stresses the importance of getting involved when one sees injustice in the world. They have spent over a month in Advisory discussing why they have an obligation to be “upstanders” and not bystanders in order to stop injustice by preventing bullying, cheating etc. and in the world at large, as political activists. Most importantly, they learned about the role they can play in political action when it comes to standing up and advocating for Israel, particularly during this difficult time. They have become educated about the situation in Gaza, how to combat the misinformation in the media and how to take action to make a difference for Israel.

Greenblatt’s presentation was the highlight of the unit. He spoke about his role in government as assistant to the president, and the White House special envoy to the Middle East and bringing the Abraham Accords into being. Through his presentation and through insightful questions from the students, Greenblatt eloquently expressed to the students his insights in the situation in Israel now, and described in detail the important role he played in the White House and some of his most memorable moments. Greenblatt shared how he balanced being a proud Orthodox Jew while interacting with the Arab representatives. He also stressed how there is more to do in the future to ensure peace in the Middle East. The students had the opportunity to hear a bit from Greenblatt’s daughter, Vera, a Yavneh Academy seventh grader, about how she shared the history-making endeavors of her father. This presentation was perfectly suited for Taanit Esther, as Mordechai said to Esther in Esther 4:14:

וּמִ֣י יוֹדֵ֔עַ אִם־לְעֵ֣ת כָּזֹ֔את הִגַּ֖עַתְּ לַמַּלְכֽוּת

“…and who knows whether at a time like this you will attain the kingdom?” Greenblatt clearly came to the government, as Esther did, to make a difference for the Jewish people.

Greenblatt potently shared with the students how they, as teens, can already impact the world. The students left inspired to “not stand idly by” and make a difference.

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