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GFC Goes To Washington: RAC L’Taken Seminar

GFC Goes To Washington: RAC L’Taken Seminar

Posted on March 14th, 2019

The weekend of March 1st, teens from GFC joined with teens from across the United States for the L’Taken Seminar, a social justice weekend in Washington DC hosted by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. The social justice weekends combine hands-on Jewish learning and advocacy in our nation’s capitol. Throughout the weekend, teens visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, they join together with over 400 participants for a spiritual Havdalah experience at the Jefferson Memorial, and they learn about the Jewish Reform movement’s stance on social justice issues. The weekend culminates with an opportunity to lobby their senators and representatives on Capitol Hill about a social justice issue with which they feel most connected. Many teens build off their own experiences and use the information they learn more about in Washington, DC, to present and discuss with capitol hill staff where each of their government representatives stand on these issues. L’Taken is a multi-faceted weekend with so many meaningful experiences and moments.

Here’s what some of our teen participants had to say about the weekend. We can’t wait to see how this group of inspired teens brings their Washington, DC, experience home with them.

 

One elective that I chose to attend was addressing the Israel-Palestinian conflict. This program specifically opened my eyes about why it was so difficult to find a solution. We looked at several maps and discussed about how all the religious, political and geographical features of every culture tie everyone into Israel, and the land is so important to everyone that no one wants to give it up. I feel that I learned so much and I had never previously thought about why it is so difficult to solve this issue.

Lauren Suchoff
Congregation Or Ami  

 

The highlight of my trip was definitely writing our speech and presenting the next day. I have always been bad with public speaking and I am proud to say I was able to overcome this weakness this weekend. Temporary or not, Me and my parents were very proud of me and it will be a moment I will never forget. Plus hanging out with my friends and talking about important topics that mean something to us felt empowering and I loved learning so many new things and expanding my knowledge.

Paige Nossal
Congregation Beth Torah

 

While lobbying, I was also introduced to internship opportunities in legislative offices in both DC and locally. This offered another career path for me and I am now considering going into a political science route. I learned that I extremely enjoy politics and political science, and without this experience, I would have never found this option for my future.

Eric Zalcman
Congregation Beth Shalom of The Woodlands 

 

An unforgettable experience occurred at Havdallah, on Saturday evening. I was sitting near the front of the crowd with a few of my friends and we were told to light the candles of the people behind us. After a few minutes I looked back and I saw over four- hundred candles lit behind me. I remember thinking how amazing it was that so many Jewish teens in my generation, from all over the country wanted to make a difference and lobby our elected representatives.

Lia Moses
Congregation Beth Shalom of The Woodlands 

 

A highlight I had on this trip was speech writing & lobbying. This was one of the most meaningful & important moments of this whole trip. I was able to write on a topic with a few of my other friends about something I truly care about & want to change. This has been by far one of the most important moments of my life. Being able to implement important personal stories from my friends & connect it with a few of my own to then share with congressmen & senators of Texas. It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will never forget. I have grown as a Jewish adult from this experience & will forever bring these values & stories that I learned from this trip with me as I progress even further.

Joshua Lovelace
Congregation Beth Shalom of The Woodlands 

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