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L'Taken Seminars

L’Taken is more than a kid-friendly version of real-life citizen engagement. L’Taken is the next step in the adultification of our youth.

Invited into the halls of Congress to urge their elected leaders to effectuate Jewish values, these soon-to-be voters take personal responsibility for their future. They choose issues they are most passionate about and research them with seriousness. (Our delegation focused on healthcare, LGBTQ rights, immigration, reproductive rights, and campaign finance, and issues related to Israel.) They reviewed briefing papers and studied relevant Jewish texts. They debated potential positions on pending legislation.

Rabbi Paul Kipnes and Rabbi Julia Weisz

Having chaperoned my first trip to a L’Taken seminar

Rabbi Sarah Bassin

In late January, high school students from across the country came together in Washington, D.C., for the fourth

Adam Waters

I’ve loved working at the RAC these past six months and one of the highlights of my time at the RAC so far has been our L’Taken social justice seminars for high school students, where nearly 300 Reform Jewish teens come to Washington, D.C. for a weekend to learn about social justice, lobby on Capitol Hill and get inspiration to be lifelong Jewish advocates. Now, when I first applied for this job, I wasn’t particularly excited about L’Taken. While the idea of engaging high school students on important social justice issues sounded appealing, I thought back to how my classmates behaved in high school. Fortunately, it turned out I was wrong and running six L’Takens the past three months has reminded me why I love working for the RAC so much.

By Ruthy Goldberg

A few weeks ago I attended L’Taken, the RAC’s social justice seminar in Washington DC, with a few of my peers from Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, Maryland. During the program, we learned about a range of different topics from hunger, to the environment, to reproductive rights. On Monday we all had the opportunity to go lobby on Capitol Hill. I had the chance to lobby in both Senator Mikulski and Senator Cardin’s offices with my thoughts on embryonic stem cell research; how this topic relates to me personally and how it relates to me as a Reform Jew.

Over the course of six L’Taken seminars this winter, I had the opportunity to work with inspiring groups of teen advocates dedicated to ending violence against

At our L’Taken Social Justice Seminars, teens take what they’ve learned from the program to Capitol Hill. Over the January 6-9 program, students Allie Gurwitz and Caroline Kaden from Congregation Beth-El in San Antonio, TX spoke about their support for Israel and the peace process to the offices of Senator Ted Cruz, Member of Congress Lamar Smith and Member of Congress Lloyd Doggett:

Last month, four L’Taken participants from Temple Emanuel in Cherry Hill, New Jersey spoke to their Members of Congress about their passion for voting rights. Brett Eisenberg, Victoria Kalbacher, Daniel Susson and Julie Benbassat spoke eloquently about our democracy and our duty as citizens to protect it. As we wait for the re-introduction of the Voting Rights Amendment Act, we must remember that there is still so much to be done to ensure free and fair elections.

At the last L’Taken seminar, Illinois students lobbied their Senators and Representative about the critical importance of campaign finance reform. Jonah Helbraun and Ryan Liberman of Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, IL, and Francesca Block of Congregation Hakafa in Glencoe, IL, joined forces to share facts, Jewish values, and a powerful story about the real effects of money in politics in their community:

At the January 9-12, 2015 L’Taken Social Justice Seminar, Jason Weiner, Joey Chanin, Drew Baker, and Jacob Shippel from Temple Beth Tikvah in Roswell, Georgia spoke to staff from the offices of Georgia Senators Johnny Isakson and Senator David Perdue, and Congressman Tom Price (GA-6) to share why raising the minimum wage is important to them as Jews, as Americans, as Georgians, and as young people. Here are some excerpts from their speech: