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Our blogger, Genevieve, who has been an intern here went to Washington D.C.
Two weeks ago, I was able to travel to Washington D.C. for L’taken, a social justice seminar for Jewish teens from all over the nation. L’taken prepares teens to write and present a speech to Capitol Hill on a variety of topics. The weekend is structured to provide an introduction on many topics including LGBTQ+ rights, voting rights, climate justice and Israel. Once a topic is chosen, teens work with other teens from their congregation and legislative assistants from the RAC to write their speeches. This event was hosted by the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism. The RAC “mobilizes around federal, state, and local legislation; supports and develops congregational leaders; and organizes communities to create a world overflowing with justice, compassion, and peace.”

Each program was lead by a legislative assistant that specialized in that particular topic, so the programs were focused, interesting and fun. I learned so much about each topic, while having fun and meeting people from all over the nation. I chose to write and talk about climate justice, specifically, fighting for renewable energy to become more popular and fossil fuels to stay in the ground, for our meetings on Capitol Hill on Monday. Attending this event opened my eyes to another interest, tikum olam, or repairing the world.

The torah tells us “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof,” “Justice, justice you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20). One of the most important jewish values is standing up for what you believe in. I hope to live out this value for the rest of my life, especially as I head off to college next year. I will be attending Mount Holyoke College in the fall, where the students are encouraged to be politically active and fight for what they believe in. I am planning to join clubs that align with my beliefs and stay politically active, especially in the current political climate. The biggest take away from this seminar was the importance of being politically active and reminding your representatives what their constituents want from them.