Fed offers program by David Rittberg on “Conversations about the Day After”

By Reporter staff

The Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton will hold the Zoom event “Conversations about the Day After” with David Rittberg, senior director at the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, on Wednesday, January 31, at 7 pm. Rittberg will discuss life after the October 7 attack on Israel. He will speak about what is happening in southern Israel, and how the war will affect Jewish communities and philanthropy in the United States. To register for the event, click here.

Rittberg noted why he feels it’s important to share information about his recent trip to Israel. “Having the opportunity to travel to Israel during this time was an incredible privilege that carries with it a responsibility to share what I learned, saw and felt,” he said in an e-mail interview. “In a world of polarization, binary thinking, misinformation and disinformation, first-hand accounts are powerful and important.” 

He added that this is especially important for Jews living in the U.S. because “for many, our post October 7 world has highlighted a powerful reality that we are all interconnected and reliant on one another.”

His most recent trip was “‘a fact-finding’ and ‘bearing witness’ trip for Jewish foundation professionals,” he noted. “Part of the responsibility of leading Jewish philanthropies is to understand what’s happening to the Jewish people, in Israel and in the Diaspora. We were focused on learning that can affect our work in the U.S. and in Israel, in the near and long-term.” 

The purpose of the trip was to learn as much as possible about what had happened. “We explored so many overlapping and competing themes from the incredible spirit of the Israeli people and society, to the depths of horror and trauma on October 7,” Rittberg said. “We learned about the emerging plans for the ‘day after’ and explored what it means to ‘bear witness.’ We met with a diversity of Israelis from a range of communities, many of whom are evacuees, survivors, soldiers, political and thought leaders. We visited the kibbutzim in the south, evacuee communities in the Dead Sea, a base in the Western Negev, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Rahat and more. We wanted to understand how broad swaths of Israelis were experiencing and coping with this moment.”

Rittberg’s trip is just one part of what the Schusterman Family Philanthropies does for the Jewish community. He noted that the organization “has worked in the Jewish community for over three decades aiming to empower young adults to connect with Jewish values, deepen their understanding of Israel and contribute to a better world.”

As for Rittberg personally, his work with Schusterman is an extension of an earlier part of his life. “I trace so much of my passion for working in the Jewish community and with Israel to my upbringing and experiences in Binghamton, and I am excited and honored to engage with the community later this month!” he added.

“David’s father, Howard Rittberg, texted me to let me know that his son was touring Israel and the kibbutzim affected by the war,” said Shelley Hubal, executive director of the Federation. “I wanted to know more about what he was learning and what his perspective is on the future of both Israel and Jews in the United States. I also think it’s important for us to keep talking about what’s happening in Israel. Join us for what is sure to be a fascinating and informative program.”