March 9, 2017

March 9 , 2017 Minutes
Submitted by Tommy Fulton, Contributing Editor
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by President Les Greer. Ken McElhaney gave the invocation, followed by Larry Sindel, who led us in song and the Pledge. Bill Oppenheimer accompanied on the piano.
Introduction of Guests & Visitors: Tommy Blankenship introduced our guests along with visiting Rotarians.
Student Guest: Saty Putcha introduced Timothy Taldon of Theodore High School.
New Members: Les Greer introduced Bill Hart, and Dan McDaniel introduced KC Constantine.
Announcements: The Golf Tournament will be held on April 18th. The District Cruise will be April 27th. There will be a Board Meeting next week on March 16th.
Program: Sam Siegel introduced Ofir Rozenberg with the Mobile Area Jewish Federation.
Ms. Rozenberg was born and raised in a small town of about 150 families in Israel. As is true of all young Israeli’s, she served in the Israeli Defense Forces. She then gave a short description of Israel, beginning with the location, which has Israel in the middle of Africa, Asia and Europe. It is a very small country, and though most people in the world think of Israel as desert, she showed pictures of the very diverse and modern aspects of her country.
She explained that 74.8% of the population is Jewish, 20.8% Arab and 4.3% made up the rest. The total population is more than 8.5 million. Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948 and is a parliamentary democracy. The language is Hebrew, but most everyone also speaks English. Some of the well-known nicknames for Israel include Zion, the Holy Land, the Promised Land, and the Land of Milk and Honey.
Once Israel was established, Jews came from all over the world to settle there. The culture is very diverse in appearance.
For virtually all Israelis, military service begins after high school. Women are required to serve two years, while men serve three years. In addition to defense of Israel, the purpose of the military is to teach the youth about Israel and its values. The military is also active in humanitarian aid. One example includes sending help to the United States after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Although many people are not aware, Israel is a leader in technological development, including the development of the USB drive, pill cam and cherry tomatoes. Also, the defensive capabilities used by the U. S., nicknamed the Iron Dome, was co-developed with the United States.
Finally, Ms. Rozenberg showed pictures of life in Israel, which showed lush green areas and beautiful beaches among the more historic Holy Land, Jerusalem, Nazareth and the Dead Sea. She closed by stating that Israel is open to Christians to practice their faith, unlike so many of the other surrounding states.
Les Greer thanked Ofir Rozenberg for her presentation and presented a certificate to her, noting that a donation in her honor had been made to the Rotary International Foundation.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 pm.