Education

Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Visits West Orange High School

4811999a838c6c56944f_DSCF2289.JPG
Ambassador Michael Oren Credits: Cynthia Cumming
1841faad30f1d9654105_DSCF2283.JPG
Principal Hayden Moore welcomes the audience. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
dbe0d4560be2ee74bc4b_DSCF2286.JPG
Interim Superintendent James O'Neill introduces Ambassador Oren. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
08320bc16a20cfb9b4ec_DSCF2284.JPG
Jerry Guarino, Robin Guarino, Megan Brill, Michelle Casalino. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
a92aab9af7bbd2159e31_DSCF2285.JPG
The Bornsteins, parents of Ambassador Oren, Jerry Tarnoff, Laura Lab, Paul Petigrow. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
56639d6df990700133a0_DSCF2290.JPG
Ambassador Oren's Aide Aviv Sarel and the Ambassador's wife, Sally Oren. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
4811999a838c6c56944f_DSCF2289.JPG

WEST ORANGE, NJ – The Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, addressed Juniors and Seniors at West Orange High School this morning and engaged them in a lively question and answer period.   The Ambassador, in the metropolitan area for meetings, had come to West Orange to visit his parents and graciously agreed to arrange a visit to the High School.  Oren grew up in West Orange, attended Pleasantdale Elementary School, Abraham Lincoln Junior High and Mountain High School, graduating in 1973. (Lincoln Junior High was actually the front of what is now West Orange High School, and Mountain High School was the back. Seton Hall Prep was the original West Orange High School.)

Michael Oren, in addition to his position as Israeli Ambassador to the United States, is also a scholar with two Doctorates, a writer, a former member of the Israeli army, and an educator.

Board President Michelle Casalino, Vice-President Megan Brill, Board Member Laura Lab, former board member Paul Petigrow, former Superintendent Jerry Tarnoff, Councilman Jerry Guarino and his wife, and Ambassador Oren’s wife, parents, and aide were also in attendance.  After a welcome from Principal Hayden Moore and an introduction by Interim Superintendent James O’Neill, the Ambassador stepped to the microphone. Ambassador Oren began with a story of how, as a senior at Mountain High School, he starred in “Man of La Mancha,” and sang “The Impossible Dream.” His own ‘impossible dream’ began at the age of 15 when he visited Washington, DC, and met then Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin (Rabin was assassinated in 1995).

Sign Up for E-News

The second life changing event he described was the bombing of the Jewish Center of West Orange (now B’Nai Shalom) by the Klu Klux Klan in March of 1972.  He said he would never forget the image of a rabbi, priest, and Protestant minister walking hand in hand along Pleasant Valley Way and singing “We Shall Overcome.”

He saved his money to travel to Israel and live on a Kibbutz, where he worked as “a cowboy on the Golan Heights.” He served as a paratrooper in the Israeli army, continued his education and became an educator himself, until he was called to be the Israeli Ambassador four years ago. 

A series of questions and answers then followed with the students.

In response to a question regarding the relationship between Israel and the United States, Oren said that Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon were in the throes of revolution and that there were dangers in the Middle East.  He also said that despite some disagreements, that the United States and Israel remain in an historical alliance and that “not everything you read in the paper is true.” He told the audience that President Obama will be making his first trip to Israel next month as President, and though different administrations have had different impacts on the alliance, that there has always been “unbreakable support” for Israel.  He said that the United States and Israel were committed to direct negotiation between Israel and Palestine; that there should be no nuclear weapons in Iran; and the issue of the large chemical weapons arsenal in Syria needed to be addressed. 

When asked whether his personal opinion ever affected his position as Ambassador, Oren explained that he is a ‘soldier’ and his ‘shirt is his uniform.’ He represents the wishes of the Israeli government.  He went on to explain that although allowed dual citizenship in Israel, when he became Ambassador he had to renounce his American citizenship.  Yet, he acknowledged, he will still always be an American as well as an Israeli.  He tells his staff that to understand Americans, they need to understand football and baseball.  He also said that American Ambassadors (45-65 appointed by the President), when appointed, get six weeks of protocol and cultural training.  There are 4-5 appointees in the Israeli government, and they get no training, as he laughingly said that on his first day as Ambassor he walked into the embassy and was promptly arrested.

In response to a question regarding the threat of Hezbollah (a Shi'a Islamic militant group and political party based in Lebanon), Oren described the situation was a threat, saying Hezbollah had 70,000 rockets.  Despite a military budget of 6.5% that provided for anti ballistic missiles (Iron Dome) that can destroy 85 percent of the rockets, 15 percent still remain a danger to Israel.

In summing up his relationship with other mid-east Ambassadors, Oren smiled and said, “There are three kinds of relationships…Ambassadors that have lunch in public with me, Ambassadors that have lunch in private with me, and Ambassadors that don’t have lunch with me at all, though the latter are in the minority."

The Assembly concluded at 11:00 am.

 

 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Evolve Cycle And Fitness Presale Happening Now!

May 18, 2018

CALDWELL, NJ - Evolve Cycle and Fitness is now offering 10 classes for only $90. That’s only $9 a class when you purchase before its official Grand Opening on Friday, June 1, 2018. 

Only two weeks left to take advantage of this limited time offer! Call Martha at 973-979-5919 or click here to sign up.

Evolve Cycle and Fitness is a Premier Fitness Boutique ...

Save Up To 20% at CNP Treasures

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Are you still looking for the perfect gift for your mom or that special someone in your life for Mother's Day? Then CNP Treasures has you covered! Save up to 20% at CNP Treasures located at 14 Northfield Ave in West Orange.

Come by this weekend so we can help you find the perfect gift! Offer expires Sunday, May ...

Montclair HS Student Reported Sexual Assault in All-Gender Bathroom, Officials Say

May 17, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - According to published reports on Wednesday, Montclair Police officials are investigating allegations of sexual assault reported to have occurred in a bathroom at Montclair High School.

Montclair police officials state that officers received a report about an incident at the high school of a sexual nature that occurred around 3:18 p.m. on Monday. The ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_3dd755d9dc476b5f4dc3_unnamed__4_

Mon, May 28, 8:00 PM

West Orange High School, West Orange

Board of Education Meeting

Community Calendar Education

Carousel_image_28c899d8572458eda4f7_mini_magick20180422-110109-8dtxfl

Tue, May 29

Essex County

Primary – Vote by Mail deadline

Carousel_image_a6317549d4614cf34367_unnamed__5_

Tue, May 29, 6:30 PM

Council Chambers, West Orange

Township Council Meeting

Clarifying Points Made in Article About WOHS Air Quality Issues

May 14, 2018

Dear Editor, 

I am the advisor to West Orange High School's student newspaper, The Pioneer. My Editor-in-Chief, Anna Favetta, is the student who researched the topic and wrote the article bringing this issue to light. She worked on the article for 4 months before she had adequate and proper information for it to go to print. 

An article on the BOE presentation of the ...

What It Means to Me - A Baseball Story

We are all in amazement of the dedication and talent of our young West Orange athletes. One of the goals of our youth sports programs is to develop our players so they are ready for high school and are prepared for success at that next level of play. Throughout the course of the year we will be featuring some of our talented young athletes and coaches. This week we have the perspective of ...

West Orange On Three!

The spring season is in full swing, and we are excited to debut this new column focusing on all things youth sports!  We thought we would kick things off with an overview of the programs West Orange has to offer, and then go behind the scenes to see what makes youth sports tick.

West Orange Police Athletic League (PAL) and Mountain Top League (MTL), together with the West Orange ...

Summer 2018 Events at the West Orange Public Library

May 15, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Beginning in June, the West Orange Public Library will offer the following events for area residents of all ages:

Dinosaurs’ Rock!                                             

Monday, June 11, 4:00 p.m.

Field Station Dinosaur visits with the ...

10-Year-Old Cancer Patient Receives Donation from Randolph Hockey Family

May 21, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ — While the inter-town hockey battles on the ice between Randolph and Roxbury are fierce at every age level, when it comes to real-life battles off the ice, there is no hesitation to offer help to their neighbor.

Such is the case with a recent gesture of unity and support from the members of the Randolph varsity hockey team, when they came together to ...

A Royal Pain

I went to a big wedding over the weekend.  It was in England.

I like to think I was invited, but according to the Royal Guards and the Thames Valley Police I was not.  But more about that later.

You see, not too long ago I received an evite addressed to me from H&M@royalwedbot.co.uk.  Curiously, it was in my spam folder with a warning message. For an evite it was pretty ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...

'The Sting' with Harry Connick Jr. Slithers and Shakes at Paper Mill

MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and Chicago.  Scott Joplin’s music is intertwined with the show, especially “The ...