Scheck Hillel students traveled to Washington, DC, for 2018 AIPAC's Policy Conference this past week. Joel Assor, ‘20, Yedida Bentolila, ‘20, Esther Bentolila, ‘18, Keith Scheck Bonwitt, ‘18, Benjamin Frier, ‘18, Myles Gilbert, ‘20, Jonathan Lanes, ‘18, Max Peicher, ‘18, David Rayek, ‘20, Joseph Rimon, ‘20, Maya Rodrig, ‘20, Kaylee Wolf, ‘20, and Natalie Zarad, ‘20, lobbied elected officials to strengthen the America-Israel relationship. Read their personal reflections below.
AIPAC is a bipartisan organization that works to strengthen the America-Israel relationship by lobbying the legislative branch of the United States government. This was my first year attending the policy conference and it was an honor to represent the community of South Florida and Scheck Hillel. This conference provides the perfect platform to network and explore common interests with people of all walks of life and all religions who are united in standing for Israel. Having the opportunity to listen to speakers such as United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was inspiring and uplifting. It is amazing how attending this conference can spark a flame or even fan a flame that can have an incredible impact on our promise land, the land of Israel. For me personally, this experience was eye opening. I met so many influential people as well as other students. Our group was compiled of students from around the country including Florida, California, Texas and Chicago. We bonded and shared quality time and now I have friends who inspire me to give my all for Israel. The most important takeaway for me from this trip is the value of forming and sustaining relationships.
-Esther Bentolila, Class of 2018
This past week, I was fortunate enough to experience AIPAC Policy Conference. I have always wanted to engage in deep conversation regarding Israeli politics, however, I never felt confident enough in the subject, until I attended AIPAC. With the knowledge I gained from our director Rabbi Pilichowski, I feel capable of being an effective advocate for the America- Israel relationship. Through lobbying Congress and the meetings that Rabbi Pilichowski organized, I gained personal contact and inside knowledge from AIPAC’s wide variety of speakers. In particular, I learned key issues important to Israel, regarding America’s peace plan with Iran, BDS, and security assistance. During my trip, I saw the devotion of so many with different backgrounds toward making sure that Israel is protected. I learned how fortunate we are to live in a generation where the flag of Israel is hanging outside of the White House and how fortunate we are to live in a world where Jerusalem is recognized as Israel's capital by the U.S. and have the United States embassy moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem!
-Natalie Zarad, Class of 2020