Written By: Batsheva Labowe-Stoll ’15

In early March, students from the Jewish High School of Connecticut had the privilege of attending the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference. The AIPAC Policy Conference is an annual event in which Jews from around the globe meet in Washington, D.C., to discus Israel’s security and the role of the United States in supporting it.   Attendees, including me, heard from political leaders including Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Senator John McCain of Arizona. We also heard from people from the Latino, African American and Palestinian communities. It was fascinating to hear such inspiring voices from across the political, geographical, and religious spectrum. AIPAC is dedicated to a bipartisan, multicultural solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Students at 2014 AIPAC

Our days consisted of a general session in the morning, two breakout sessions of our choosing, and a general session in the evening. The breakout sessions were especially interesting, because they allowed us to concentrate on a specific topic. For example, a number of sessions featured speakers who addressed the integration of Palestinians into Israeli culture. One Arab-Palestinian discussion leader educates Palestinians to become doctors and teachers in Israel. Such programs encourage civilians to commence the peace process. The concept is to start from the “bottom up” as opposed to enforcing different political policies from the “top down.”

No topic received more attention at the conference than Iran and its nuclear program. Throughout the day AIPAC board members and directors spoke extensively about the Iran nuclear capability plan. Essentially, peace talks have been taking place between Israel, Iran, and the United States. America and Israel have been trying to find a way to convince Iran to stop enriching uranium. However, an end is nowhere in sight. In fact some suspect that Iran uses peace talks to stall and through the duration of meetings, have continued their program. AIPAC is in the process of lobbying congressmen and urging them not to settle on a bad deal and not to allow Iran to stall the process.

On the last day of the Conference we toured the Capitol building, thanks to the courteousness of Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. We saw the entire main structure and the many corridors that congressmen use to maneuver inside the building.

Overall the trip was a great success. The Jewish High School of Connecticut would like to thank the many synagogues and organizations that contributed and allowed us to partake in this experience: Beth El Kessler Israel, Temple Emanuel, Temple Ore Shalom, and Temple Beth Shalom.  A special thanks to Sydney Perry and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven and to Rabbi Cohen from Agudath Shalom in Stamford. Without your generosity we would not had this great opportunity. 

Pictured in group photo above (FR l-r) are Batsheva L. '15, Talia W.'15, Amber K. '14, Shaina G. '14, and Emma J. '15; (BR l-r) Noah F.'15, and Shane R. '14. 

Photo left:  Emma, Shaina, Batsheva, and Shane.

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