CHICAGO — Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in Israel this week, attending a conference on global leadership with such heavy hitters as former Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev and ex-British prime minister Tony Blair.
The trip isn't all wonky: The Jerusalem conference is being held in connection with Israeli President Shimon Peres' 90th birthday, which kicked off Wednesday with a reception that included Barbra Streisand singing and appearances by Sharon Stone and Robert De Niro.
Streisand was scheduled to sing the Jewish prayer Avinu Malkeinu in Hebrew, a request by Peres because he said it makes him "tear up" and reminds him of his childhood.
Emanuel is traveling with his youngest daughter, Leah, to celebrate her bat mitzvah.
At a plenary session with Blair and Peres Wednesday, Emanuel said a leader "must convey three qualities to the public: strength, confidence and optimism," according to an account on the Israeli news site Haaretz.
"The real question for leadership is, What do you learn from failure? Change is only constant. Can you make change a friend, not a foe, for the public?" the mayor reportedly said.
Haaretz also described how the Chicago mayor told Peres, "It is rare to meet someone who lived a life worth living."
The Jerusalem Post said Emanuel is scheduled to appear at a news conference in Jerusalem on Sunday with the presidents of the University of Chicago and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev to announce "a new, high-profile joint initiative to develop game-changing water technologies."