Thoughts & Feelings On #Tomorrow13- Day One

I just returned home from an intense yet very interesting and exciting day at #tomorrow13.

Please, if you learned anything today I hope it is that #tomorrow13 is the official hash tag for the ritziest game of Jewish geography of the year, The Israeli Presidential Conference.

Looking around the room filled with thousands of versatile and diverse people knowing that everyone came to this Conference with a story, a job and a goal truly inspired me on so many levels.

This morning I was discussing with a fellow blogger and writer that the conference is based on your intentions. You get out of it whatever it is that you want from it.

Of course you can see Bill Clinton receive the highest civil award of honor in Israel and cry your eyes out.


Or you can hear absolutely fascinating, motivational and passionate speakers discuss their views for tomorrow.


Or you can help the lovely yet very outspoken Columbian woman sitting next to you at one of the sessions play Bejewled Blitz.


But at the end of the day a successful conference is determined by your intentions. Whether the intentions are to network, to attend every session, or to completely immerse yourself in the world of social media.

On the bus ride back home about an hour ago I asked myself what my intentions are for this conference. When I arrive again tomorrow morning at the International Conventional Hall what do I want to feel, see or hear?

One thing (for lack of a better word. Apologies to my third grade teacher) that truly stuck out to me was advancements.

Advancements in terms of the fact the Conference was taking place in Israel. Advancements in terms of a large percentage of the attendees were women.

Advancements in terms of several religions were able to come together in one hall and proclaim how their future.

As a history nerd I always find myself thinking, “sixty-six years ago, on the eve of Israel’s inception, would this be a possibility.”

Sixty-six years ago, on June 19, 1947 did Shimon Peres think he would be celebrating his 90th birthday with 5,000 guests in Israel stemming for all across the globe?

I am sure if you told Peres sixty-six years ago what the future holds for him he would (and rightfully so) laugh in your face.

Today I attended the Presidential Conference as a proud American Israeli Jewish woman.

A little less then a century ago this would not be possible.

Sixty-six years ago being Israeli wasn’t an option. Sixty-six years ago there was no Israel. I would be the American Palestinian girl attending the Palestinian Presidential Elections. Well that is if Jews were still allowed to live what is now, thank god, Israel.

Sixty-six years ago Jews were slowly emerging from the blood bath we now call Europe.  I personally can’t even imagine what their reactions would be if we were to tell them “your grandchild will be attending a highly esteemed conference in Jerusalem.” They would probably be joining the laughing fest with Peres. Jews were just trying to find the means to make it to the literal tomorrow. They did not have the ability to philosophize and contemplate the metaphorical tomorrow. How could they when their past and present were completely in ruins.

Sixty six years ago a woman attending an intellectually stimulating conference would not only be frowned upon, but in most countries that claimed they were democratic it would not be allowed. Easy as that. And don’t even ask about a woman speaking or moderating at a conference. That wasn’t even a thought. I mean how could a woman g-d forbid leave the kitchen?

I was invited to the Conference as a blogger. I think it is safe to say I am your pretty average Josephine (I’m a girl, so “Joe” doesn’t work). Many of the people I met with today are also bloggers, writers, beginning startups.  I met with people that are interested in collaborations or sharing ideas. Average (or a little more than average) people who have the ability to change the world through the power of social media.

Only in the past few years has the world turned the tables from royalty and celebrities and places their attention on the people. The power of the people. The change the people can bring whether it’s through their home office or some high-up company.

After so many thousands of years people are finally being heard.

I know sixty-six years ago, I, the Times of Israel and Newest Sabra On The Block blogger, would not be invited to such a prestigious event.  And it’s not because blogs didn’t exist then.

As Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago said in this morning’s plenary-“ change is the only constant, nothing ever stand still. The question is can you make change a friend or a foe”

In my opinion in terms social equalities, gender equalities, as well as technological and economic advances we are advancing daily and in a positive and beneficial manner. I for one see change as a friend.

The average Joe or Josephine are encouraged to contribute to the advancement and many do so honestly and truthfully.

My presence at the Fifth Israeli Presidential Conference is proof of an ever growing advancement.

One of my goals for day two of the Conference is to continue to be amazed by how far Israel, Jews and women have come.

Power to us!

See you tomorrow #tomorrow13! (It is so cheesey, but I had to.)


About the Author
Lottie Kestenbaum was born to British parents and grew up in New Jersey. To add to the identity crisis, Lottie made aliyah in August 2012. Hello tri-citizenship! She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Holocaust Studies at Haifa University and living in Jerusalem. Yes, it is a shlep. No need to mention it :-)