Above: Cari Steckel, Arielle Fine, Amy Strauss and Lisa Lebovitz enjoy the AAspire event at Whitehall Tavern before carpooling to the lecture.

As we head into August with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump confirmed as their parties’ presidential nominees, we can expect the rhetoric to heat up. The tough talk by the candidates and their campaign surrogates is bound to trickle down and make it ever tougher to have civil conversations among people with different perspectives.

But politics could still be an educational party in late July when Ahavath Achim Synagogue’s AAspire young adult group gathered at the Whitehall Tavern for a “Think or Drink” session before the annual Eizenstat Lecture at the Buckhead synagogue Tuesday, July 19. Neither the drinking nor the thinking, featuring a conversation between former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and host Stuart Eizenstat, was strictly political, but people were eager to hear why Bloomberg chose not to run for president (which he discussed) and what he thought of the race now (which he avoided).

At the same time Bloomberg spoke in Buckhead, the Republican National Convention was officially nominating Donald Trump in Cleveland. For the fourth consecutive presidential election, Jewish Atlantan Dan Israel was a delegate at the Republican convention. Israel said he left Cleveland confident that Trump will win in November; he had his doubts when he arrived. You can read more of Israel’s post-convention thoughts at AtlantaJewishTimes.com.