“Hello, my name is Adam Rosenberg, and I am a senior at Hudson High School. First I would like to thank your office for co sponsoring HR 1905, it is crucial for congresswomen like Marcia Fudge to support sanctions on Iran and recognizing the importance of a strong Israel-US relationship.”
These words looped through my head as I stood in front of the Longworth Office Building across the street from the Capitol. Honestly, I was surprised and nervous to have the opportunity to talk to Maheen Siddiqui, Legislative Council (on foreign affairs!) for congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-11). However, I was excited to make a difference, excited to implement my research on Israel, and most of all – excited to advocate. There are few possible paths that lead to joining forces with AIPAC and lobbying, mine was relatively straightforward. I joined Write On For Israel (WOFI), which is a two-year Israeli advocacy program that monumentally changed my life for the better.
The first year was rough, lectures, notes, presentations, seminars, films, and a never ending number of PowerPoint slideshows. Next, we travelled to Israel on a political advocacy trip. We spent nights on the Mediterranean beach with Arabs, met the Shalit family in Jerusalem, and interviewed countless Israelis and politicians. I loved every moment of it. From there, WOFI lead me on a journey of Israeli advocacy that placed me at the Hill and with AIPAC.
Attending the AIPAC Schusterman Advocacy Institute High School Summit in Washington, D.C., Nov. 6-8, was extremely informative, especially when it came to lobbying techniques. Learning how to speak with a member of congress was a topic I knew nothing about. I attended an Advanced Public Speaking class at the convention (I was very glad I had when I was in the office of Marcia Fudge). I also learned about speaking, congress, lobbying, fundraising, petitions and much, much, much more.
This convention has been a phenomenal experience and I would invite CJN readers to attend the upcoming Policy Conference or any AIPAC event. Remember, the US-Israel relationship is not self-sustaining. We, as pro-Israelis, must continue to submit positive energy towards this relationship to keep it going for the safety of Israel and America.
In addition to WOFI, the Northeast Ohio delegation also included Alyssa Schor, Sydney Ungar, Jacob Popper Nate Shiffman and Noah Ickowitz representing BBYO and Hallie Israel and Matt Fisher from The Temple Tifereth Israel. Leora Hoenig of Cleveland BBYO and Ari Milgrom of The Temple-Tifereth Israel attended the trip as advisors. Noa Rabinowitz, AIPAC staffer from Beachwood, helped ensure the delegates had a good experience.
For another WOFI Fellow, Alana Friedman, the most memorable event was lobbying for Israel at the Capital. The ten teens from Northeast Ohio traveled together to Capitol Hill preparing short speeches on different topics the congresswoman needs to know about Israel- Iran, the peace process and the need for foreign aid. “It was an amazing opportunity to be able to talk to someone directly involved in congress,” said Alana.
Esther Bergson, another WOFI Fellow, was initially unenthusiastic about attending the AIPAC conference. Slowly, she became more excited and anxious, unaware of the incredible experience she was about to encounter.
“The setup of the seminars was impeccable, creating an interactive environment that encouraged every student to make a contribution to the discussion. Everybody had similar views and came together to create such a strong and reassuring environment that anybody-whether educated about the conflict in the Middle East or not- would feel completely comfortable with,” she reported.
The sixth annual conference brought 407 high school students from 28 states representing 130 different schools.
“Meeting the hundreds of other students was an interesting experience for me, said Bergson. I was shocked to find so many young adults that I could relate with and have a good time with. The AIPAC High School Summit was a life-changing experience for me that provided me with a great deal of knowledge and insight into the world of politics involving Israel and the United States,” said Bergson.
Esther Bergson attends Cleveland Heights High School, Alana Friedman attends Montessori High School at University Circle and Adam Rosenberg attends Hudson High School.