Written by Adam Sternberg Thursday, 25 April 2013 00:00
The long anticipated speech by former President Bill Clinton was received by an overflow crowd of 1,700 people who packed into Temple Sinai Tuesday April 16. The audience came to hear Clinton deliver a talk entitled, “Embracing Our Common Humanity.”
The large New York media contingent on hand was given all of five minutes to hear and report on Clinton’s speech. While the media was given the short shrift, the audience received better treatment. Indeed, based upon the long-standing ovation and introductory remarks by the Congregation’s President David Schwartz, it was clear that Clinton’s appearance was considered the crown jewel in the temple’s Distinguished Lecture Series. While Clinton was the first American president to visit Temple Sinai, he was not the first head of state. Other speakers in the series have included former Israeli prime ministers, Ehud Barak and Shimon Peres, plus Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel and former United State Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger. According to Temple Sinai officials, the goal of the lecture series is to present the congregation and the community with the most inspiring and important speakers of our time.
Speaking in his increasing role as a senior statesman of the Democratic Party, the former president mainly spoke of his organization, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). Its purpose, he said, is to “create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.” To date, CGI members have made more than 2,300 commitments, which have improved the lives of more than 400 million people in more than 180 countries.
Clinton also spoke of his numerous trips throughout the world, including those to the Middle East. During his talk, the former president discussed various incidents he had personally witnessed in that troubled region, including a rocket attack in Jordan, which Clinton said destroyed an entire wedding, plus other warlike acts that took place on the Gaza Strip.