LIVE: Obama speaks at the Union for Reform Judaism biennial
A minute-by-minute update as U.S. President delivers keynote address at the URJ Biennial in Washington D.C.
Thousands of people have gathered at the 71st General Assembly of the Union for Reform Judaism in Washington D.C. on Friday afternoon, to hear U.S. President Barack Obama deliver the keynote address.
3:08 P.M.: Hineni, I stand ready to do my part. We will make choices that are hard, but are right. And together we'll rewrite the next chapter of the U.S. story.
3:07: P.M.: Obama: When I look back at the last three years, I am proud of the decisions I made.Today we look forward to a world not as it is but as it could be. Our union is not perfect and the world is still in desperate need of repair.
3:05 P.M.: On the Iranian nuclear program, Obama stresses ,again, that no option is off the table.
3:04 P.M.: Obama: I said in September at the UN, no nation can tolerate terror or accept rockets targeting innocent women and children. It's hard to remember a time when the administration gave more support to the security of Israel, don't let anyone to tell you otherwise, it's a fact.
3:00 P.M.: Obama: We stand with Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. America's commitment and my commitment to security of Israel is unshakeable.
3:00 P.M.: "I know that many of you share my frustrations from time to time - there is so much work to do," Obama says about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "But here is what I know - peace can't be imposed from the outside, ultimately Israelis and the Palestinians have to reach agreement on issues that divide them."
2:55 P.M.: Obama talks about repeal of "Don't ask - Don't tell", making family planning more accessible for millions of Americans, talks about the educational reform - issues significant to the U.S. Jewish community.
2:50 P.M.: Obama: "We had to take on the Washington culture, where the focus is too often on the next election instead of the next generation. Time and again we are reminded changes are never easy… But we don't quit, and today we begin to see what change looks like."
2:48 P.M.: Obama: "Your parents, your grandparents remember how it is to be a stranger. They pursued a hard work of Tikkun Olam, because they experienced bigotry. Our country is a better place because they did."
2:43 P.M.: Obama quotes this week's Parasha - "Hineni" speaks about persecution of the Jews. "Throughout history this place, American stands out. Jews faced prejudice and violence. But no matter where you came from, you could make it if you try. I know how much this story means to you, because I know how much it means to me."
2:40 P.M.: Obama wishes the audience "Shabbat shalom, several hours early," and compliments the movement's work. "You helped liberate soviet Jews. You made a difference on so many defining issues in the last century, without these efforts, I'd probably won't be standing here today," he says.
2:37 P.M. U.S. President Barack Obama is welcomed by enthusiastic applause, receives standing ovation.