Rabbi Arye D. Gordon
During this past Chol Hamoed Sukkos, Rabbi Yehuda and Simi Feigen of Hancock Park hosted a gathering of the Los Angeles Republican Jewish Coalition with its special guest, the new Los Angeles Consul General of Israel, Sam Grundwerg.
The official role of the RJC is to foster and enhance ties between the American Jewish community and Republican decision makers in the United States. The Republican Jewish Coalition “works to sensitize Republican leadership in government and the party to the concerns and issues of the Jewish community, while articulating and advocating Republican ideas and policies within the Jewish community.” One of the pillars of the RJC is its strong support and loyalty to the state and people of Israel.
In his introductory remarks, Mr Arie Lipnick – Regional Director of the RJC – reminded the audience that all comments and questions should relate to policies and issues regarding the State of Israel and that at this luncheon, the topic of the current contentious presidential election would not be discussed.
Rabbi Yehuda Feigen then rose and welcomed the Consul General and other guests. “We are fortunate to have an Israeli Consul General who is a native of Miami, Florida, a diplomat who understands Americans and has a sense of the American Jewish communities.”
When it was his turn to speak, Grundwerg thanked the host and hostess, Rabbi Yehuda and Simi Feigen, who have hosted the Grundwergs for Shabbos meals several times since their arrival in Los Angeles in August. The Consul General also acknowledged the presence of Paul Koretz, member of the Los Angeles City Council; Yaki Lopez, L.A. Israeli Consul for Political Affairs; and Mr. Stanley Treitel.
The Consul General expressed his thanks for the opportunity to meet members of the RJC, strong supporters of Israel. Consul Grundwerg related that he grew up in a Modern Orthodox home and made aliyah on his own when he was 17 years old. He was a soldier in the Israeli Army and completed his education in Israel. After close to a decade in Israel, he returned to Florida with his wife and young family. The Grundwergs then spent the next decade in the States, returning to Israel as previously planned. Prior to his current post, Grundwerg was Director General in Israel for the World Jewish Congress.
Grundwerg was appointed Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles last April by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, beginning his term in August. In his post, he acts as top representative for Israel in the southwestern United States, working from the Consulate’s Brentwood office
The Consul General expressed his thanks to the Los Angeles Community for their warm welcome of him and his family. “I look forward to developing close relationships with the Los Angeles community and working together on issues of concern to Israel and the American Jewish community.”
He then added, “I look forward to making Israel relevant, not only to the Jewish community, but to the African American community and the Spanish [-speaking] American community. We look forward to making inroads and partnerships with these communities and others, as well.”
Grundwerg then discussed some of the concerns of Israel regarding the recent UNESCO statement, the effects of the BDS movement, the Iran deal, and peace in the Middle East.
The Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles is one of Israel’s largest diplomatic missions in the world. It covers the entire Southwest region of the United States, including Arizona, Southern California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.
The official Consular Residence for the Consul General will be in Beverlywood. Guests at the RJC gathering were delighted to discover that the new Los Angeles Consul General is shomer Shabbos and an adherent of Torah u’mitzvot.
To the Honorable Sam Grundwerg, Consul General of Israel, welcome to Los Angeles!!