ELAYNA S. (2022-2023 PARTICIPANT):
The L'Taken seminar was one of the most monumental experiences in my Jewish life. Before going to L'Taken, Judaism and social justice were both important in my life, but I was unaware of their connection. During the weekend, I learned about how Judaism values advocacy and social justice. I learned that many Jewish teachings tell us to care about others and help our communities. Discovering this connection has helped me deepen my understanding and devotion to my religion. One of the moments from this weekend that sticks out to me was the lobbying stimulation. It showed me how politics work and the bias that can be present in government decisions. This activity also showed me how constituents, like me, can be a part of the political process. Overall, this experience has been very beneficial to me as it has allowed me to learn about my religion and the politics in our country.
HALEY L. (2022-2023 PARTICIPANT):
L'Taken was an amazing experience. Not only did I get to bond and meet other Jews around my age, but I learned a lot more about being a Jew. We learned a lot about different topics like mental health and migration. We also traveled around DC to some amazing sites. I had a great time!
CHARLOTTE N. (2022-2023 PARTICIPANT):
L'Taken is special. I'm immensely grateful for its life-changing existence, mission, and work. It is 72 hours of non-stop immersion in a space with hundreds of passionate, motivated, kind, caring, supportive, and thoughtful young people and amazing chaperones. Never in my life had I thrived so much, feeling so fully myself, so happy, and so mentally, emotionally, and spiritually stimulated. I learned, I grew, I struggled, and I connected with others, all at once, and while having so much fun. It was powerful to share space with so many like-minded, yet diverse young people.
From the moment we took the escalator downstairs at the hotel, and received our name tags, to when all 500 of us sat on the floor of a room at the Capitol Building and de-briefed our time on The Hill, before saying goodbye, being at L'Taken was an experience where I me, my voice, and my ideas were wanted, celebrated, and supported. I wish that I could go back and re-live that weekend and its many surprises again, feeling all of the emotions and excitement all over.
PAIGE (2019-2020 PARTICIPANT):
This is a trip that really elevated my mindset and allowed me to see the bigger picture. I know I am extremely blessed to have opportunities like this and I am eternally grateful for the chance to see Washington DC and talk to my senate's staff and congresses staff.
HOPE A. (2022-2023 PARTICIPANT):
The L'Taken trip was truly life changing. I was aware of all the issues we learned about on this trip, but I had never felt like I could do anything about it. However, on the trip I dove deeper into each of these issues, expanding my knowledge of these problems. I had the privilege of hearing from people who were directly affected by the issues. I also heard stories from my peers and how our lives can be different yet oh so similar. I saw these issues through a different lens, a more Jewish one. I met countless other Jewish teenagers who had the same passion for change as I do which is such a magical and empowering experience. I had never felt more connected to my religion before this experience. And most importantly, I learned that even though I'm still young, I am in no way powerless.
ERIC (2019-2020 PARTICIPANT):
This has been the best experience in my religious, political, and social life. This weekend has allowed me to expand my knowledge about the Reform Jewish Movement and my political opinions. Speaking to the congressmen allowed me to open more opportunities for the future and plan my future career. By attending the seminars throughout the weekend, I was able to gain more information on the topics I cars about and the Jewish values and opinions behind them. The Shabbat and Havdallah services also allowed me to build a greater connection to my religion and beliefs. Experiencing a service in the Jefferson Memorial with close friends was unlike any other experience I have had.
SIMON W. (2022-2023 PARTICIPANT):
Empowering teens is something that transcends decades, and that is what the RAC staff provided for thousands of teens during the L'Taken seminar. I felt an incomparable strength to bring about positive change in our world, and having the opportunity to take part in such a powerful experience is one I will never forget. After that weekend, I will not keep my mouth shut, I will make sure the people know that there is power, and this is what it looks like.
JOSHUA (2019-2020 PARTICIPANT):
This has been by far one of the most important moments of my life. Being able to implement important personal stories from my friends and connect it with a few of my own to then share with congressmen and senators of Texas. It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will never forget. I have grown as a Jewish adult from this experience and will forever bring these values and stories that I learned from this trip with me as I progress even further.
LUCY B. (2022-2023 PARTICIPANT):
L'Taken was such an impactful stepping stone in my activism. Some of the most valuable parts of the seminar were having challenging conversations with people I didn't necessarily agree with, and using my voice at the Capital to fight for what I believe in. I met so many amazing people who wanted to fight for their rights and other issues we all cared about. Going to the Holocaust Museum was also a very impactful part of our trip. Connecting as one group over our shared history was really special. I don't have a lot of Jewish friends at home, so being surrounded by so many Jewish teens was really important for me. L'Taken also inspired me to look into activism as a career, and opened up paths I haven't even considered. It was such an amazing experience, and I would be a different person without it.
This was an invaluable experience to see how our government works, to learn about lobbying, and to try to persuade legislative aids with fundamentally contrasting views to introduce new legislation. Additionally, being able to experience this with like-minded Jewish teens from across the country made it even more rewarding. We live in a socially and politically conservative area with a very small percentage of Jews so being able to discuss important social issues with a Jewish emphasis was a great opportunity and stark contrast to the daily conversations she has with others as well as overhears. As a result, the effects of the trip on my daughter were clearly visible: She returned more confident, mature, and knowledgeable in her ability to interact with and be taken seriously by adults. She now seems to have a sense that she can make a difference just by speaking up and is eager to do so.
It is so important to me, as his mom, that he learns to speak up for himself and be able to back up his reasons for why he feels that way. This trip showed him how to have a voice. Alex has shared many stories about the trip, and I have loved hearing all of them. What an experience! (Is there a program for adults like this? I want to sign up). The programming, different workshops provided for the students, sounded very valuable. It is important for our teens to learn the Jewish perspective on the current issues we are facing in our country today.
RABBI ETTMAN (CHAPERONE):
L'Taken, once again, was profoundly inspiring for my students! My two young women who attended focused and lobbied on Mental Health issues. They are so empowered to know their "voice is powerful" that we have helped them create a mental health symposium featuring their personal story, a mental health professional, myself, and a one of their parents.
I wanted to share how powerful the program was and how much of a difference you all made (once again!). Many years ago, I had a bumper sticker on my car that reminded me 'think globally, act locally' - what came out of the larger program reminds me of this.
I am grateful for what you all do - which is why I have attended as many L'Taken seminars as I have.