CRP Blog

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

RJC Enjoys Another Success in Fresno

The Republican Jewish Coalition enjoyed another success in Fresno last week. Here's an update from RJC leader Linda Halderman:

The Republican Jewish Coalition of Central California's 2007 Friend of Israel Award dinner marked the largest gathering in the organization's four-year history. It was a powerful and moving tribute to one of the Central Valley's greatest treasures, Dr. Victor Davis Hanson.

In attendance waslongtime friend of the RJCCC, Congressman George Radanovich. Other elected officials included State Senator Dave Cogdill, who offered gracious words of praise for the RJCCC, and State Assembly Republican Leader Mike Villines, another good friend of our Coalition.

Fresno City Councilman Jerry Duncan informed the large crowd that November 6, 2007 was officially declared "Victor Davis Hanson Day" in the City of Fresno, as confirmed by Mayor Alan Autry's signature. Other honors were sent by Congressman Devin Nunes and Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea, as well as a personal message for the RJCCC and Dr. Hanson from California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring. Ron regretted that the wildfire threat to his San Diego home prevented his attendance this year, but he enjoyed last year's event so much that he has already committed to attend the next one.

Fans of Dr. Hanson arrived from Florida, the Sierra Nevada foothills and Southern California, including a contingent from Los Angeles-based David Horwitz Freedom Center.

Numerous members of the clergy honoring the group included 2006 Friend of Israel Award winner Bishop John-David Schofield, Pastor Jim Franklin of 15,000-member Cornerstone Church, Father Carlos Raines, Pastor Kevin Smith, Pastor Jan Van Oosten, Rabbi Levy Zirkind, Rabbi Robert Ourach and Rev. Gordon Donohoe. Nineteen members of Congregation Bnai David also generously supported the event.

Dr. David Kaye provided the perfect start to the evening with a moving, inspirational invocation.

2005 Friend of Israel Award winner, Col. John Somerville (USMC, Ret.), led a traditional military Pledge of Allegiance. A beautiful acoustic version of the Israeli National Anthem, "Hatikvah," was performed by Sacramento's Wild Branches.

2004 Friend of Israel Award winner, Dr. Bruce Thornton, offered rare personal reflections on the history of his brilliant colleague and best friend, Dr. Victor Davis Hanson.

The highlight of the evening was Dr. Hanson's acceptance speech. Many in the audience were devoted students and readers of the scholar's work, yet they were as awestruck as those newly exposed to the clarity and insight he provided on this issue of Jewish, Christian and secular support for Israel.

One of the audience members wrote this about Dr. Hanson's comments: "Victor delivered one of the most powerful and comprehensive speeches I have ever heard about the importance of supporting Israel. He focused on the problem we conservatives have with convincing our fellow liberal Jews what we know to be true--that today's anti-Semitism comes from the left, not the right. He gave new and profound insights on this critical issue."

This event was seamless, due in large part to the hard work of Friend of Israel Award committee members Sunny Abarbanell, Anne Weil, Susan Abbott, Leslie and Bob Briney. The evening could not have been such a success without the heart and commitment of the Chairman and founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of Central California, Stuart Weil. The attached photos (credited to talented RJCCC photographer, Michael Goldring) reflect the joy and gratitude of those blessed to share this special evening.

Linda Halderman
Friend of Israel Award Committee

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