This year was the third year that I attended the AIPAC policy conference in Washington, DC, and the second time I have taken my daughter Emma (she’s a sophomore in high school). The prior two years the conference had between 6,000 and 8,000 attendees, and this year was remarkable in the unprecedented attendance of over 13,000 people and more than half of Congress. More than anything, the ability to both meet with and hear from members of Congress, and to hear President Obama, President Shimon Peres, and Prime Minister Netanyahu speak live, is a rare opportunity. For my daughter especially, seeing first hand how our political system operates, and the role that the United States plays both in Israel’s well being and in the Middle East at large is extraordinarily educational. It is my hope that Emma’s early exposure to AIPAC and to the complex issues facing Israel (coupled with a trip we took to Israel two years ago) will instill in her a sound foundation and desire to support Israel and Jews domestically and worldwide throughout the course of her life.
This year it was also gratifying to see so many members of our temple in attendance; for many it was their first introduction to AIPAC and from the feedback I have heard, it was a rewarding experience of all of them.