A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

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Alon Ben-Gurion, grandson of Israel’s first PM, to speak in St. Louis on Unity Night

Alon Ben-Gurion.

The Jewish National Fund-USA will host “A Night of Unity” in St. Louis on Jan. 25, featuring a keynote address by Alon Ben-Gurion, grandson of Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion.

Alon Ben-Gurion, 72, served as a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces and was wounded during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. After military service, he worked in the hotel industry, including a two-year stint as food and beverage director for the former Hyatt Hotel at St. Louis Union Station. Ben-Gurion now splits his time between New York and Tel Aviv. He recently shared his thoughts with the Jewish Light about the challenges facing Israel and memories of living in St. Louis.


What were your first impression of St. Louis?

I remember the first time that I walked in the lobby of Union Station. I just stood there mesmerized. And I remember the Jewish community was always exceptional. It was nice to come to St. Louis and see the strength of the small community and the warmth and the welcome that we received. My youngest daughter was born there.


Since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, the St. Louis Jewish community has gathered on a number of occasions as a reminder of the hostages still in captivity. How important are these events?

What you are doing in St. Louis and every other city in the U.S. warms our hearts and tells us that there is a connection between the American Jews and Jews around the world and Israelis appreciate it.


What gives you hope about the future of Israel?

I’m an eternal optimist. From tragedies like the Yom Kippur War, we became a better society. I believe that we will become a better society after what happened on Oct. 7. Israel is strong. I think that we will overcome this because there’s only one Israel and that’s what we’ve got to remember. There’s no replacement for that.


What have we learned in 100 days since Oct. 7 that can help secure Israel’s future?

We can’t change the past, but we can change the future. Obviously, we have to learn from our mistakes. How are we going to help the people of Israel? That’s a big challenge. How can we help all the mentally affected people? And there are thousands of them, not only the people who went to the battlefield, not only the people who were attacked. It will take us a long time to rebuild, not only to rebuild the army or the political leadership. It’s about rebuilding the trust of the people in their leadership.


You are a student of history and an avid reader. Have you read any books recently about Israel that really you found enlightening?

 This is an amazing book called “Let There Be Water” by Seth Siegel. When I grew up, there was no water to take a shower. Today, Israel has become an expert in water systems. We should be very proud of that. Israel has so many resources that we can help other countries, other people around the world, if they only let us. With our knowledge, imagine how much we can help and support countries with agriculture, medicine, high tech. There are so many things that we can do.

For more information about the Jewish National Fund-USA or to register for the event featuring Alon Ben-Gurion, visit www.jnf.org/UnitySTL


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About the Contributor
Bill Motchan, writer/photographer
Bill worked in corporate communications for AT&T for 28 years. He is a former columnist for St. Louis Magazine. Bill has been a contributing writer for the Jewish Light since 2015 and is a three-time winner of the Rockower Award for excellence in Jewish Journalism. He also is a staff writer for the travel magazine Show-Me Missouri. Bill grew up in University City. He now lives in Olivette with his wife and cat, Hobbes. He is an avid golfer and a fan of live music. He has attended the New Orleans Jazzfest 10 times and he has seen Jimmy Buffett in concert more t han 30 times between 1985 and 2023.