Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Step Into My Week: AIPAC Policy Conference & DC

I’m currently on a plane as I type this to sunny Southern California from Washington D.C. where I attended AIPAC’s Policy Conference. BBYO sent out applications a few months ago, and I was so excited to hear I was accepted to be apart of BBYO’s delegation. The actual conference lasted from Sunday to Tuesday but I flew in early to spend time with my friend from a BBYO summer program.

I ended up flying on Friday right after school. I literally had to make a mad dash to the airport for fear I might miss my flight if I got stuck in a ton of traffic. Luckily, I got to the gate ahead of time. I was definitely shocked to see such a jam packed gate as I didn’t know flights were being cancelled left and right because of the wind in the northeast. The girl I ended up sitting next to on the flight is a pilot instructor. She ended up telling me all about planes, the process to becoming a pilot, and answered any questions I had about planes. It was pretty cool to strike up a conversation with someone sitting next to me.

I flew into Baltimore as it was the closest airport to my friend’s house. My Lyft driver was interesting to say the least. The driver wasn’t super familiar with the part of Maryland my friend, Carina, lived in. We ended up getting a little lost as their was a downed tree close to her house. When I finally arrived, I was so excited to see her.

She had told me that her power had gone out, but I completely forgot. I was a little worried that no one was home, but I was so excited to see her. Her mom was the sweetest and made the most amazing vegan food for me. I had pita with hummus and a salad and grain mixture. It was so good. I also tried chia pudding with fruit that was absolutely divine. I loved it so much. We ended up hanging out in her room catching up. We decided to FaceTime one of our friend’s, Chase, where we debated over who has the better hat collection. Carina’s hat collection is pretty cool. She has a cat hat and a cheesehead.

The next morning we were out the the door at 10:30 ready to explore the city. We dropped off my bags at the hotel as I didn’t want to lug my bag around all day. We drove over to the Newseum but decided to go to the National Building Museum instead. I was completely amazed by all the different newspapers on display. As a journalism student, it made me so happy to see newspapers from all over the U.S.

The National Building Museum was crazy cool to say the least. Carina and I ended up playing in the little kid’s play zone for a little while. The building blocks and Lincoln logs were super fun to play with as we constructed homes. The museum featured a paper model exhibit that was truly mind-blowing to see the exquisite detail in the models. I’d love to see the process of creating a 3-D model as I’ve only seen ones that are getting characters to stand up.

The focal point of the National Building Museum was an exhibit featuring a model home. The premise of the museum was that today’s homes aren’t suited to work with the evolving lives of the individuals who inhabit today’s homes. The model home was incredibly innovative with storage everywhere, foldaway showers and beds, and moving walls. I left the exhibit feeling inspired to see what housing will look like when my generation begins to buy houses.

We ended up spending way more time in the National Building Museum than we anticipated, so we were pretty hungry when we left. We ended up going to Le Pain for lunch. Let’s just say that I was incredibly impressed. I got an amazing black bean and sweet potato toast that was so good. I had the hardest time choosing between all the incredible sounding food. I was so excited to see that they had vegan Nutella. I ended up buying some to take home with me, but security at the airport took it away from me. I’m definitely ordering some online as the chocolate spread was such a great treat.

We decided to go to the Washington Monument to allow me to see at least one of the monuments. The Washington Monument is being renovated so we weren’t able to get close but it was still very cool. I’d love to see the view from the monument as I’m sure its very pretty.

We had to make a mad dash back to the hotel as Carina had a BBYO event she had to be at. Although I got there a little early compared to everyone else, one of my roommates, Melanie, was also early. Both of us were hungry so we went to Shouk. It’s vegan Israeli cuisine that is seriously the bomb dot com. I’m so hoping they open up a location in Atlanta because vegan Israeli food isn’t super available in Atlanta.

We went back to our hotel and met the rest of our roommates. My other roommate, Sarah, was super sweet. She’s going to College of Charleston. My big in BBYO goes to Charleston so it was cool to meet another BBYOer whose going to CofC. My other roommate, Leah, is super cool. She actually goes to camp with someone who goes to my school so we ended up hanging out for most of the convention. The international n’siah (president), Rebecca, was also roommate. That was pretty cool!

The entire BBYO group gathered together to get dinner. My roommates along with Gabby, another girl in the group, went to Whole Foods for dinner. It’s so incredible to me that we all instantly got along. BBYO truly unites us. We had a blast and a half chatting for hours. We grabbed dessert at Jeni’s Ice Cream where I got a delicious chocolate flavor. All of us took pictures of our ice cream as it was so pretty.

Sunday was the first official day of AIPAC. We got to hear from so many speakers share how their helping to support a strong US and Israel relationship. It was pretty neat to be in the presence of so many people who shared the same love for Israel. My favorite panel that I heard from all about how AIPAC will win on college campuses. I was so incredibly inspired by all the innovate programming the college students were putting on. I was particularly inspired by UC Berkeley’s programs that they were putting on. The girl from UC Berkeley talked about a Israeli vegan food market. I’d love to see something similar be put on by my chapter in BBYO or by the JCC.


I had the opportunity to lobby my representative. I hadn’t lobbied for anything prior to AIPAC so I was stunned to see the inner workings of Congress. I’m inspired to come back to D.C. to lobby for other causes I’m passionate about. Capitol Hill, you’ll be seeing me real soon.