Recent political developments in Israel and the upcoming Annapolis meeting of Middle-Eastern leaders and American President George W. Bush will be front and center on the minds of the thousands expected to attend part or all of Agudath Israel of America’s national convention, set to open later this week. In fact, the Motzoei Shabbos Keynote Session at this year’s convention will be dedicated to “The Threat to Divide Yerushalayim: The Torah World’s Response,” it was announced late last week.
Addressing the large crowd expected at the convention, the organization’s 85th, at the Stamford (Connecticut) Westin Hotel, will be Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, the Novominsker Rebbe and Rosh Agudas Yisroel of America; and Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon, Mashgiach Ruchni, Beth Medrash Govoha (Lakewood). Also scheduled to deliver remarks to the gathering is Yerushalayim’s mayor, Uri Lupolianski, who, after conferring with Rav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, accepted an invitation to address the convention.
A strong protest of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s expressed willingness to consider relinquishing parts of Yerushalayim to Palestinian control is expected to emerge from the Motzoei Shabbos convention session, and may be followed by a formal resolution of censure the following morning at the convention’s close. The Annapolis meeting with Mr. Bush, which will be attended by Mr. Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – and perhaps others – is scheduled to convene two days later.
The Motzoei Shabbos convention session will also feature remarks by Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, Executive Vice President of Agudath Israel of America, and by Rabbi Gedaliah Weinberger, the organization’s chairman of the board. A second special guest from Eretz Yisroel, Mr. Shalom Shoshana, a Shmitta-observant farmer, will also share his thoughts with the crowd. Greetings will be delivered by Agudath Israel Nesius member Rabbi Chaskel Besser and the session chairman will be Jacob (Yaty) Weinreb.