Issues and Ideas in Civil Debate:
Economy. Israel. Iran. Leadership. Our Future.
Democracy demands an educated and informed electorate
Larry Greenfield – The case for Governor Romney
Rabbi Elliot Dorff – The case for President Obama
David A. Lehrer – Moderator
“With great privilege comes great responsibility.” One of our privileges is the privilege to vote – to express our feelings about the world through our choices – and should be entered into with care and effort. If we do not, we might well lose that privilege.
Many in the world are denied the chance to choose their leaders. The only thing that denies us the chance to vote is our own actions.
Jewish history and the meaningful memories of our recent past, much less our long story as a people, does and should inform our considerations. Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors has built an organization which has looked at contemporary issues in America, Israel and the world with perspective and care, precisely because we are wiser when we think about the news of day in context.
Since 1980, about 30 percent of the Jewish voters can be described as swing voters. In the 2012 election Jewish concerns need to be addressed to attract the support of Jewish voters. What do Jewish voters want? How much does Israel factor in the Jewish vote? Which party represents and addresses Jewish concerns? In close presidential elections, swing voters hold the balance of power. Consequently, neither party can take the Jewish vote for granted.
He was senior policy adviser to Meg Whitman for Governor and is presently national security adviser to Elizabeth Emken for U.S. Senate.
Larry is currently fellow in American studies at the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship & Political Philosophy, and senior fellow of the American Freedom Alliance. He comments frequently in the media and is writing a book on American politics.
Larry hails from Encino, and was a boyhood friend of Daniel Pearl. He earned his BA at UC Berkeley and his law degree at Georgetown, where he worked on an arrest warrant for Yasir Arafat. Larry enlisted and served in United States Naval Intelligence Reserves.
A Wexner Fellow, Larry has a long record of service to the Jewish community, as VP of the Jewish Community Foundation and director of the Israel Cancer Research Fund among many posts. He serves on the boards of the Israel – Christian Nexus and the
Endowment for Middle East Truth.
Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Ph.D. is AJU’s Rector and Sol & Anne Dorff Distinguished Service Professor in Philosophy. For more than
thirty years as a Visiting Professor, he has taught a course on Jewish law at UCLA School of Law.
Rabbi Dorff was awarded the Journal of Law and Religion’s Lifetime Achievement Award and holds three honorary doctoral degrees.
Rabbi Dorff is Chair of the Conservative Movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards and served on the editorial committee of Etz Hayim, the new Torah commentary for the Conservative Movement. He has chaired three scholarly organizations: the Academy of Jewish Philosophy, the Jewish Law Association, and the Society of Jewish Ethics. He is also Immediate Past President of the Academy of Judaic, Christian, and Islamic Studies. In Spring 1993, he served on the Ethics Committee of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Health Care Task Force.
In March 1997 and May 1999, he testified on behalf of the Jewish tradition on the subjects of human cloning and stem cell research before the President’s National Bioethics Advisory Commission. In 1999 and 2000 he was part of the Surgeon General’s commission to draft a Call to Action for Responsible Sexual Behavior; and from 2000 to 2002 he served on the National Human Resources Protections Advisory Commission, charged with reviewing and revising the federal guidelines for protecting human subjects in research projects. Rabbi Dorff is also a member of an advisory committee for the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History on the social, ethical, and religious implications of their exhibits.
Rabbi Dorff currently serves on the Board of Rabbis for Obama as Vice-President.
David A. Lehrer is the president of Community Advocates, Inc., a Los Angeles based human relations organization chaired by former mayor Richard J. Riordan. For twenty seven years he served locally with the Anti-Defamation League, as both its counsel and its regional director.
Mr. Lehrer is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UCLA where he received a B.A. in Political Science. He attended UCLA Law School and earned a Juris Doctor degree and admission to the bar in 1973.
He has been interviewed on his activities by publications ranging from the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and the London Times, to the Wall Street Journal, Business Week and Newsweek. He has appeared on numerous national news broadcasts including the ABC Network programs Nightline and Good Morning America, and National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition. His essays have appeared in various publications including the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, and other newspapers across the country.
In 1997, he was appointed by then Mayor Riordan to the Board of Library Commissioners of Los Angeles and served for two years as its president, overseeing the 67-branch Los Angeles Public Library system with an annual budget approaching $90 million.
Community Advocates has partnered with two major Los Angeles media outlets to amplify its message on civil rights issues—with KCET’s public affairs broadcast Life & Times it broadcast weekly segments of The Kitchen Table; it teams with Airtalk, on NPR’s KPCC, to produce quarterly Critical Issues Seminars that are broadcast to the largest local public radio audience.
He is married to Dr. Ariella Lehrer and is the father of four children—Eli, Jonah, Rachel and Leah—and three grandchildren.