By Shoshana Behar
From March 23rd to March 26th, ten NYHS students—Shoshana Behar (sophomore), Mimi Broches (senior), Nina Greisman (sophomore), Zohar Hemmat (senior), Sam Holland (sophomore), Avi Kintzer (sophomore), Fay Koyfman (senior), Albert Menashe (senior), Isak Moon (senior), and Jadon Piha (junior)— will represent NYHS at this year’s AIPAC Policy Conference. The AIPAC Policy Conference in March is the largest gathering of America’s pro-Israel community. The conference celebrates U.S.-Israel partnership and provides an important opportunity for attendees to lobby their congressional office in advancement of the U.S.-Israel relationship.
For the past several years, NYHS has sent a student delegation to the AIPAC Policy Conference. Jason Feld, NYHS Head of School, explains that AIPAC is, “one of the more impactful events that help[s] in a very real and direct way strengthen the American Israel relationship.” The conference meshes well with the NYHS value of supporting the Jewish people worldwide. Says Feld, “Zionism is obviously very important to us and the mission of the school.” Melissa Rivkin, Director of Advancement agrees, sharing that “Going to AIPAC is not just in line with our Zionist hashgachaI,but also in line with the curriculum of this school.”
AIPAC’s goal is to make sure that participants and lawmakers are made aware that a strong US-Israel relationship is as beneficial to the United States as it is to Israel. This meshes well with the mission of NYHS. Says Feld, “The benefits for the school as a whole are that whenever we align what we do with our mission that strengthens NYHS. It’s important for the school because our students come back more educated on the issues.”
One of the main benefits of the conference is the ability to connect with other students who share a love of Israel. “For the Jewish people, supporting a free and sovereign Jewish state of Israel is incredibly important,” says history teacher Robin Nider, adding that “we send students to the policy conference in part so that [they] can network with all of these people.”
Students participate in learning sessions and hear lectures from some of the world’s most famous pro-Israel leaders. One of the highlights of this year’s conference is a speech by Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
NYHS students who attend AIPAC conclude the trip by lobbying members of Congress regarding the importance of the US-Israel relationship. Participants will attend multiple educational sessions to become well informed before heading to capitol hill. “I’m very excited to lobby and let our voices be heard to our state representatives,” says sophomore Sam Holland.
Students who attend AIPAC are chosen based on an essay explaining their interest and investment in US-Israel relations. “This year’s students were chosen because they had a really strong idea of how they wanted to take their learning beyond the conference and bring it back to Seattle,” said Nider.
Senior, Fay Koyfman sums up the significance of AIPAC participation, “I hope to take the learning from AIPAC and bring it back to NYHS. Additionally, post-high school, I hope to apply this learning on my college campus, which is where the relationship between America and Israel is very controversial and often challenged.”