Caitlyn Jenner counted the Kardashians among her children Thursday night while speaking at the Sixth Annual World Values Network Champions of Jewish Values Awards Gala in New York City.
Jenner said what she loves most about the Jewish community is “how they are so committed to family.”
She took this opportunity to mention her own family: “And for me, I am very blessed – I have a very large family.”
She turned to founder of the network Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. “Rabbi, I am impressed, nine children, [Debbie] did all of them!” she said of Shmuley’s wife and marriage.
“I have 10 but it took me three women,” she joked.
Six of Jenner’s children are biological, including Brody, Brandon, Kendall and Kylie Jenner; the other four are the Kardashians (Kourtney, Kim, Khloé and Rob). Jenner has admitted that her memoir’s passages about ex-wife Kris Jenner created a rift in the family, but she still considers them her children despite the estrangement.
During the live auction portion of the event — where the transgender advocate was honored with the Champion of Israel and LGBTQ Rights Award — prizes like box seats at a Yankees game were not selling. So, after some attempts to excite the crowd, the rabbi took to the mic and put Jenner on the spot. In front of the packed gala room, he urged Jenner to donate a lunch with her to be auctioned off to raise money for the World Values Network’s goals of defending Israel, fighting genocide, promoting family and universal values. She agreed, and he and host Elon Gold then turned to the audience to sell the meal with for her for $10,000.
(An event rep tells PEOPLE that “several people” ended up winning lunch with her, and Jenner’s camp bough lunch with investor/philanthropist Michael Steinhardt for $10,000.)
“For me, this is a very interesting evening,” Jenner said when she accepted the award. And not only because of the auction. “I have had been touched by the Jewish community on a few occasions throughout my life, that has had a really big impact on me and the person I think that I am today.”
Jenner said she was raised in the Christian church but described how her time in the Munich Olympics brought her closer to the Jewish community.
“I went to the 1972 Olympic Games, my first Olympics. I was 22, nobody ever expected me to make it on the team, I certainly never even expected to but there I was,” she began.
She recalled finding out about the Munich Massacre from fellow athlete Steve Prefontaine, who told her terrorists had taken 11 Israeli athletes hostage. “So, I was with a group of guys and they said, ‘You know, there’s a place where you can see what is going on,'” Jenner said. “We went up and crawled on our knees to the porch and I looked across the walkway and there standing in the doorway was that very famous picture of that guy in the hat holding a rifle.”
Later in the event, she pointed out the “strong connection” between the LGBTQIA and Jewish communities.
“I do wonder sometimes why there is such a strong connection between the LGBT and the Jewish communities. It seems – well first of all, we seem to attract a lot of the enemies, don’t we? Tyrants, religious fundamentalists, white nationalists, radical Islamic terrorists, we have got them all. I wear that hatred as a badge of honor,” she said proudly. “They hate us because what we stand for – freedom, opportunity, diversity, and most of all and I think this is what most unites our communities – we stand for love. We celebrate diversity.” She then praised Israel for its allegiance to the LGBTQIA community. “For the entire Middle East and the rest of the world, Israel is a beacon of hope. In a region where entire religions are banned and are persecuted and gay men are sentenced to death, Israel is a long-standing refuge for the LGBT community.”
In interviews before the event, she said the opposite about the U.S. “Right now we’re losing a trans woman of color, one every two weeks, it’s been absolutely horrible,” the E! personality pointed out.
“I’m very disappointed in this current administration,” she told reporters. “Some of the things, I’m more on the conservative side, the Republican side. I like less government. I like those types of things. …But as far as trans issues, this administration has been the worst ever. They’ve set our community back 20 years, easily. It’s gonna be hard to change. But we’ve been through these types of things before and we’ll continue to fight it.”
While she said that she has not “been back to see Trump” since the inauguration, if she were to see the president, she’d tell him to “do a better job when it comes to equality for all Americans.”