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YUPAC Welcomes Malcolm Hoenlein and Betty Ehrenberg

The Yeshiva University Political Action Club (YUPAC) hosted its first event of the year on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, a discussion about Jewish political leadership with Malcolm Hoenlein and Betty Ehrenberg, two prominent and experienced Jewish leaders.

Hoenlein has served as the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations as well the founding executive director of both the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater New York and the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry. Ehrenberg, an alumna of Yeshiva University, is executive director for World Jewish Congress-United States and North America. Previously, she served as executive director and director of International Affairs and Communal Relations for the Institute for Public Affairs, among many esteemed positions.

Both speakers provided valuable insights about the current state of affairs for American Jews and shared the wisdom they have gained through their journeys as community leaders.

As leaders of major umbrella organizations encompassing Jewish groups across all spectrums, both Hoenlein and Ehrenberg emphasized the importance of Jewish unity. “We have far more in common than recognized,” Hoenlein told the audience, and Ehrenberg said that her strategy was to focus on the issues that people do agree on, like combating antisemitism and promoting Jewish security. A valuable takeaway from her speech was the principle that when we stand together, we are stronger. Ehrenberg stressed the need for Jews to protect themselves and their communities. Antisemitism cannot be eradicated, she emphasized, but it can be delegitimized, and education will lead to its decline. To be a good leader, said Ehrenberg, “listening is key — to the people in your community, to their needs, what troubles them, and what you can do to help,” which also means “listening to yourself and following your beliefs. Your role is to be a ‘Shaliach Tzibur,’ a messenger, middle-man, or liaison of your people.”

“It was an absolute privilege for YUPAC’s participants to learn from Malcolm Hoenlein and Betty Ehrenberg,” said Jacqueline Englanoff ‘24S, education general board member of YUPAC. “We thank them for taking their time to speak with us as well as for their unwavering dedication to the Jewish people.”

Thank you to Jacqueline Englanoff for her contribution to the writing of this article.