Former President Bill Clinton regales guests at ORT dinner event.
just cannot escape your neighbor.
"If you live in an interdependent
world that is in disequilibrium —
ill Clinton was once the
which means you don't have shared
most powerful executive
values, shared benefits and shared
in the world, but on May
responsibility — you can claim the
16, he was just paying
benefits of that world but you will be
tribute to his good friend, Doreen
exposed to its hazards."
He remembered the day the sec-
- The 42nd U.S. president appeared
ond Palestinian intifada began in
at the Women's American ORT
2000. "I remember pleading with
"Vision's of Hope" dinner, dedicating Yasser Arafat not to do it. I remem-
the David B. Hermelin ORT
ber imploring him to have little
Resource Center at the Jewish
Palestinian children with flowers
Community Center in West
greet [Israeli Prime Minister] Ariel
Sharon when he walked up to the
She is "a truly
deserving person who
Instead of saying,
embodies hope," said
`You can't go to the
Clinton before a
mosque,' invite him
crowd of more than
in," Clinton said.
"We all make deci-
The resource center
sions, and when we
was named for David
act like we don't have
Hermelin, the late
a decision to make,
Bingham Farms phi-
we are on hazardous
served as U.S. ambas-
Clinton urged the
sador to Norway
crowd to give back to
under Clinton from
the community. "I've
December 1997 to
never had a nickel to
January 2000. He
my name before I left
David and Doreen Hermelin the White House," he
died that November.
joked. "Those of us
David what David
who hive something
often said was the best
should give it back to
job he ever had work-
make our community
ing for someone else,"
stronger and our chil-
dren's future brighter. And that's
During his 30-minute speech,
what ORT does and what Doreen
Clinton joked about David serving
has done all of her life.
Palestinian Authority President Yasser
"Sometimes, I read and hear things
Arafat a kosher hot dog during the
today that make me think that peo-
Oslo accord talks.
ple who are fortunate enough to have
But he turned serious when dis-
money act like they were born in log
cussing subsequent events.
cabins they built themselves," he
"The world today is in a curious
said. "That ... we have no obligations
state of complete interdependence
to the community.
and disequilibrium," Clinton said.
"When I talk to groups like this, in
"It is a macrocosm of what we see
reference to my own faith, we call
every day in the Middle East.
this Preachin' to the saved,'" he
Interdependence can be good or bad;
it is inherently neither. It means you
"Doreen and David have lived
HARRY KIRS BAUM
their whole lives by assuming people
were good — not bad," he said.
"The more they gave, the better they
felt. They made giving fun. And the
last time I checked, we're not taking
it with us anyway."
Rabbi Joseph Krakoff of
Congregation Shaarey Zedek asked
the former president for some speak-
ing tips while Clinton was greeting
"He put his arm around me and
said he came from a poor family
who didn't have television, and they
communicated with each other by
telling stories," Rabbi Krakoff said.
"He pointed to his heart and said.
`It's all gotta come from in there.'
"I walked away feeling great,"
Rabbi Krakoff said, about the event
and Clinton's speech. "It was like he
was speaking to each of us individ-
Top: President Clinton greets attendees.
Above: President Clinton, right, shares a story with Rabbi Krakoff left.