The Susan and Bart Lewis Family AJC Leaders for Tomorrow (LFT) Advocacy Summit gathered young leaders from different high schools all over the country to advocate and support Israel in Washington, D.C. earlier this month. As participants from the LFT DC cohort, the experience was especially meaningful because it is our home. Not only did we learn how to advocate by going to congress and meeting with staff of Maryland senators Chris van Hollen and Ben Cardin, but we learned how the war in Israel is affecting those outside the Jewish community around the world. 
       Before the Lewis Family LFT Summit, we felt helpless and alone in the face of the terrible events occurring in Israel since October 7th. This summit empowered us and showed us that even as youth, we can still help. As we discussed with the Senators’ staff, asked them questions, requested their co-sponsorship and support of bills to assist Israel, we realized that we truly can make a difference. 
    As students at a Modern Orthodox Jewish day school, we do not often have the opportunity to interact with Jews of all different religious backgrounds and people of other faiths. But, AJC gave us an opportunity to further understand Catholic-Jewish relations, and learn about Catholic views on the war in Israel. We visited the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle with Rabbi Noam Marans. After receiving a tour of the church, we conversed with the priest about Catholic-Jewish relations throughout history, and in our Modern Day world. Leaving the church, we felt unisolated, supported and thankful to the Catholic community.
    This experience educated us in such an impactful way. Now we understand that even though we are still young we can advocate on behalf of Israel in a meaningful way, and communicate across cultures, faiths, and backgrounds on how we can all stand together against hate.

Amollia Antine and Talya Cohen are members of the class of 2027 at Berman Hebrew Academy and participants in the 2023-24 AJC LFT Cohort in Washington DC.

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