Reform Biennial Features Joe Biden and Michael Douglas
Vice President Joe Biden and Academy Award-winning actor Michael Douglas are scheduled to speak at the Reform movement’s biennial in Orlando, Florida.
Biden will address the gathering of Reform Jewish leaders on Saturday, the Union for Reform Judaism announced in a news release Monday. Douglas, the winner of the 2015 Genesis Prize, known as the “Jewish Nobel,” will speak on Wednesday at the conference’s opening plenary.
Douglas is the son of Jewish actor Kirk Douglas and in the past year has become an advocate for greater inclusion of intermarried families within the Jewish community. In August, the Jewish Funders Network and Genesis Prize Foundation announced a $3.3 million matching grant program in Douglas’ honor to fund an intermarried outreach initiative, and on Yom Kippur Douglas was a surprise speaker at a Reform synagogue in Bedford, New York.
The biennial, which takes place Wednesday through Sunday, is expected to draw 5,000 people from the United States and abroad, including more than 450 rabbis and 250 synagogue presidents. According to the URJ, it is the “largest religious Jewish gathering on the continent.”
Other speakers include New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, restaurateur Danny Meyer, Knesset member Stav Shaffir, and authors Letty Cottin Pogrebin and Anita Diamant.