Jerusalem mayor to visit Aspen |

Jerusalem mayor to visit Aspen

Amy Meyerson
Special to The Aspen Times

The mayor of Jerusalem, Vhud Olmert, will visit Aspen on July 30, when he will speak at a private residence about the current situation in Israel.

Mayor Olmert will speak on behalf of the local United Jewish Appeal to raise money for the 2002 UJA Campaign and the Israel Emergency Fund for Terror Relief.

Gloria Sharlin, a coordinator with the local UJA, got permission from Olmert’s office in Israel to have him speak at the fund-raiser. Jane Sherman, a personal friend of Olmert and associate of the UJA, said that the mayor “has agreed to come to Aspen to speak for the UJA to raise money for the needs of the Jewish community in Israel and the entire world.”

The Aspen Valley Campaign sent out 1,500 invitations to members of the Jewish community in Aspen and are expecting about 200 people to attend. While the fund-raiser is being considered a private event, people are welcome to attend if they pay the mandatory donation of $500 to become a member of the UJA.

Olmert has been the mayor of Jerusalem since November 1993. He was first elected to the Eighth Knesset in 1973, at the age of 28, and has been re-elected seven consecutive times.

Between 1988 and 1992, OImert also served as a minister in the Israeli cabinet under Yitzhak Shamir. He has degrees in psychology, philosophy and law from Hebrew University and worked as a lawyer for several years before focusing on his political career.

The UJA raises money nationwide to assist Jewish people across the world. The UJA has also been raising money for the past two years for emergency relief in Israel because of the heightened violence.

The UJA primarily raises money to aid people who want to move to Israel. At present, Jews are mostly moving from Argentina, Ethiopia and, in particular, the former Soviet Union. About 35,000 people have recently moved from these nations to Israel.

The UJA also takes care of the needs of Jewish communities in 60 countries worldwide. The UJA helps build senior centers, provide day camp education and build other community-based facilities.

Money raised for emergency aid to Israel will mostly go to help children and victims.

“Most parents today don’t let their kids go out after school, which ends at 1 p.m.,” said Sherman. “We’re providing extended afternoon schooling for the kids.”

The UJA is also donating money for summer camps and arranging for armored buses to deliver children to and from school.

The UJA assists victims of terrorism by providing psychological services for those injured and their families. They also provide money to lessen the monetary losses of victims and their families.

Anyone interested in learning more about the UJA and its mission, or in hearing Olmert speak, should contact the UJA at 920-2777.

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