Why is AIPAC Policy Conference so unique? Because it attracts the largest gathering of American Jews — around 18,000! Only one other place can claim more Jews per square foot: the Land of Israel.
My greatest accomplishment from AIPAC 2017 was being a part of this mass gathering of Jews. I maximized every opportunity that was presented to me including holding a one-on-one conversation with Yotam Goren, an Israeli diplomat to the United Nations; learning ways to delegitimize BDS on college campus; and listening to top American politicians (Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, for example) reaffirm their unwavering support for Israel.
Indeed, AIPAC is so special because of the people you are able to engage with. Not only does the conference draw important political leaders from both the United States and Israel, but it brings together a family of Jews from all around America, a mishpacha. I was able to reconnect with long-lost friends, familiar faces I have not seen for more than five years, and celebrate America’s support for Israel with my own Israeli friends, relationships I forged while a Diller Teen Fellow in 2015.
But what I appreciated most was the opportunity to attend Policy Conference. Fortunately, this was possible through a generous donation from the Iris Family Foundation, who sponsored my AIPAC registration valued at $599. Through the first-ever parent/teen Cohort, the Iris Family Foundation funded my ticket contingent that I attend Policy Conference with a parent, and connected me with Jonathan Kessler, AIPAC director of strategic initiatives, who guided us through the conference (see the photo of Jonathan, me, and my dad.)
I am pleased to say that my experience at AIPAC with my dad was one of the best we have ever shared.
This new program makes sense — AIPAC should be a family affair. It allows both the teen and parent to have meaningful conversations about the America-Israel relationship, and then continue those conversations back at home. It encourages families to attend Policy Conference together as one collective group. Most importantly, it increases the amount of people who become involved in AIPAC, generating more Jewish leaders who will always be supportive of the Land of Israel.
I am so proud that I was a part of this first parent/teen cohort, and I look forward to watching the impact this program has on the future of AIPAC.