Well, not exactly meeting Shimon Peres, but I did shake his hand. I was one of the lucky professionals at The Jewish Federation who was asked to be on the team to create a special evening in Los Angeles with President Shimon Peres. Having just seen him in Israel as part of a Los Angeles delegation, I was incredibly honored to have a 2nd opportunity to see him so quickly. And frankly, I was glad because I was pretty awestruck back in November and barely remembered anything he said.
Having staffed many events in my career, I love that moment an event starts. Like traveling, the minute the plane takes off, I am always smiling and bubbling with excitement. This was no different.
Since I had already seen Mr. Peres in November, I knew how mesmerizing he was up close. He fully embodied the mystery, power, presence and dignity of a President. From the moment he walked into the room, my mind and heart were swirling with emotion. I was moved by the gratitude of those who felt as fortunate as I to be witnessing this moment. And sharing it with others in the Los Angeles Jewish community only enhanced the experience.
While Mr. Peres spoke, the room was silent as we all listened intently to every word. He was serious, funny, warm and incredibly thoughtful with each response. He said many great things that I am not willing to misquote. He is committed to peace, wants women treated equally and with respect and wants us all to look to the future. I couldn't help but be overwhelmed by how much he and his peers have done to start and build a thriving, resourceful, and passionate nation.
This was definitely one of the highlights of my professional career. Wow – I know I will hold this moment in my heart and mind for many years.