David AaronsonThe writer is a student at YUHS in New York.
I am co-president of the Israel Advocacy Group at the Yeshiva University High School for Boys, located in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.
Two weeks ago, I took more than 50 of our students and faculty members to Washington D.C. for our second annual Israel lobby mission.
Before the trip, we held a training session, where we went over our lobbying points. The next day, we awoke at 6AM and boarded our bus for Washington DC.
We headed to Capitol Hill for our congressional meetings where we discussed US support for Israel with Congresswoman Grace Meng, Congressman Scott Garrett, Congressman Eliot Engel, Senator Robert Menendez, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Chuck Schumer, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
While all the members of congress whom we lobbied already have pro-Israel voting records, I explained the need to thank them and express appreciation for their continued support.
This was the third lobby mission which I have coordinated. My friends sometimes ask me: "David- you go to Capitol Hill so often, and the people you take with you are not yet old enough to vote. Do your opinions really matter to members of congress? Do your voices affect the way they vote?"
The answer is yes. After a long day of committee hearings and debates, members of congress are exhausted and sometimes totally out of touch. But when they return to their offices to find young students who have traveled a five-hour distance just to express their gratitude, their eyes light up, and a happy smile appears on their face. There is nothing more valuable than when a group of young people tell you to keep up the good work that you are doing.
This is especially true for when you lobby for Israel, which has bipartisan support in both houses of congress. This bipartisan support doesn't come naturally, and it should never be taken for granted.
So if you ever have a moment to speak to your member of congress about Israel, be sure to open with the following words: