Each year AIPAC – the American Israel Public Affairs Committee- holds a Policy Conference in Washington DC. Attended by more than 7000 Israel supporters from all 50 states, the Policy Conference is an opportunity to hear from American and Israeli leaders, get updates on the most current information and learn about ways to help strengthen the American-Israeli relationship.
I attended two years ago and found it to be nothing short of incredible. I had planned to attend this year, along with temple leader Jay Rice, but, unfortunately, was required to remain here in NJ at the last minute. Jay, however, did attend and found it to be a powerful experience. I asked him to share a bit of it with our entire temple family. This is what Jay had to say…
I had the privilege of attending the AIPAC policy conference on May 4 and 5, 2009.
I have the opportunity over the years to participate in a many varied activities involving the Jewish Community but I have never experienced anything quite like the Policy Conference. The sheer magnitude of it is amazing. Sitting down for dinner with 7,000 of your closest friends in one room is quite an experience. Sharing a glass of wine with virtually all of the US Senators and Congressmen is another.The Conference attracts the most important and compelling speakers on the issues surrounding American- Israeli relations. This year, we heard from President Shimon Peres, Vice- President Biden, Senator Kerry, Senator, Kyle, Senator Durbin, Congressman Cantor, Congressman Hoyer and, live via satellite, Prime Minister Netanyahu.The single most important theme this year was Iran and the necessity of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. It was an issue discussed by and agreed to by Politicians from both parties.In addition to the speakers, the Policy Conference allows you to attend break out sessions on numerous topics. I attended a sessions in regard to the threat from Hezbollah and Hamas. These sessions are valuable educational tools.Finally, all delegates are asked to lobby their local representatives. I was fortunate enough to sit in on meetings with both Senator Lautenberg and Senator Menendez.I would certainly hope that next March, when the next policy conference is scheduled, that TSTI can have a significant presence. Jay Rice
You can watch Vice President Joe Biden’s speech from the Conference HERE.