By Sydney Carim
Temple Beth David
At first, I was not sure if I wanted to join my temple on this trip. It was in the middle of midterms in my junior year and it was based solely on politics. What teenager actually considers getting involved in politics? Luckily, I have a super persuasive rabbi who taught me that “it’s not about learning history-it about making it,” because that weekend at L’taken was certainly one for the books. L’taken brings Reform Jewish teens to Washington, D.C. to teach them about social advocacy. For three days, the staff from the Religious Action Center of Reform Jews taught us about different topics and how to effectively protest and lobby to the government. In addition to the seminars, a portion of each day was dedicated to sightseeing, including visiting the Holocaust Museum. My personal favorite was when we held a Havdalah service one night right there on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. We sang and put our arms around one other, united by our faith and our endeavors for justice. It was truly moving. The next day, we wrote our speeches and on our last day in the Capitol, we went to the Congressional Office Buildings to deliver them to our senators and representatives. Our experience was unique because it was the weekend of the government shut-down. Luckily, our representatives found time to meet with us. The aides were gracious and attentive and they truly seemed invested in the issues that we spoke about. Walking out of the House Office Building, I felt surprisingly accomplished, powerful and proud in a way that I had never felt before. After this experience, I am actually considering getting involved in politics. I’m already planning to write and deliver a speech to my representatives on reproductive rights. My voice has the power to make a difference in this country. And so can yours.