Four Atlanta Jewish Academy Upper School students joined 420 other high school students at AIPAC’s annual Schusterman Advocacy Institute High School Summit in Washington.
Seniors Maia Dori, Batel Man, Daniella Sokol and Zoie Wittenberg, who are active in the school’s AIPAC Club, received intensive training in pro-Israel political advocacy and visited congressional offices to promote the value of the U.S.-Israel alliance.
The summit is the cornerstone of AIPAC’s early engagement program.
“We are very proud of the young women who attended AIPAC’s High School Summit, which does so much to arm our students with the tools they need to counter the misinformation that so many rely on when thinking about Israel,” said Rabbi Pinchos Hecht, AJA’s head of school. “The only way to make a difference is to stand up and make our voices heard.”
Rabbi Hecht said the students will use what they learned at the summit “to change the world one mind at a time.”
Batel Man offered the following report on the trip:
“We flew to Washington, D.C., to learn how to properly advocate for Israel and make a direct impact on the U.S.-Israel relationship. Together with other Atlanta teens, we went up to Capitol Hill and lobbied Georgia Congressman Price’s foreign affairs legislative director, Kyle Zebley. We shared personal stories about our connection with Israel, as well as some issues we felt were relevant to bring up and discuss. It was really amazing to see how pro-Israel he and the congressmen are — so have no fear, Georgia’s got our back.
“Even more impactful than our lobbying meeting at Capitol Hill was spending three days with over 400 teenagers from all different backgrounds. Some were Christian, and some were Jewish. Some identified with BBYO and some with NCSY. Some were affiliated, and some were not. And students came from every other stream of life that you can imagine. We came together for the same powerful purpose: Israel. We learned the importance of engaging, not just debating; acting, not just advocating. We learned to use every medium we have in order to spread awareness and promote change.”