The theme of this year’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference was “Choose to Lead” and for the Shulamith High School students who attended the event in Washington D.C. on March 4 to 7, it was a call to action as they take part in the school’s Israel Activism Club.
“At AIPAC there was representation from all walks of Jewish life and all levels of religious observance,” junior Sela Pollack said, noting the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Progressive, Reconstructionist, Modern Orthodox and Chassidim groups. “There were vocal activists and silent donors, old and young. All with one focus, to maintain the vitality and the spirit of Israel.”
There were speeches by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Vice President Mike Pence and chairman of the Jewish Agency and “refusnik” Natan Sharansky.
“Nikki Haley is probably my most favorite politician of all time,” junior Shana Deil said. “She is a real role model. Not only is she a strong woman, she is a firm believer in the state of Israel. She inspires me to spread my passion to others around me.”
Spending time in the AIPAC village, attending the festivals with Israeli music and food, and viewing exhibits showing technology and innovations produced in Israel, spurred the students to take an active role in the conference, asking questions and voicing their opinions.
“A leader is someone who takes charges, does something that everyone would follow,” another junior Hanna Adler said. “That is exactly what Israel did and is doing. They chose to be a leader in this world. As a Jew, I know that it is important to lead and represent my religion and country. Going AIPAC made me develop a deeper love and pride for Israel.”
To show that the students’ support of Israel should have an impact outside the school walls, the young women took what they learned and went into action lobbying for the Jewish state.
“I discovered so many things that I didn’t know over the past three days, freshman Aliza Fruchter said. “I learned how the Iron Dome works, what Dream Doctors are, what bone marrow donations and so much more!”