There are many ways to learn how to advocate for a cause, especially here in the Nation’s Capital. You can hire a lobbyist, mail in a preprinted petition or ask a friend. You can take a course at university, college or elder hostel. You can go online.
But if you really want to know how to participate in grass-roots advocacy, you should go to the people who not only do it best, but teach it best. Our Jewish community is blessed with many such organizations, including the National Council of Jewish Women, the Jewish iterations of the Democratic and Republican parties and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, to name a few. (By the way, it is long past time for the Conservative Movement to have a presence here in Washington.)
But if you want to know who really does it best, then there is only one answer. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has been in the advocacy business since its inception, supporting the State of Israel and its many administrations. Through hard work and the building of relationships, AIPAC has become one of the most effective lobbies on Capitol Hill. This much you know. What you may not know is that the young people who intern for AIPAC or who spend time on the staff are among the most sought-after staff members in Congress and in many other advocacy groups. Why? AIPAC trains them better than almost anyone else.
These days, there are few non-ritual skills more important for Jewish survival than the ability to present our concerns to policy-makers and legislators – or even the people next door. Realizing the unique position DC area Jews are in, AIPAC has decided to initiate a local opportunity for activists who support Israel. Its Washington area committee will enable volunteers to benefit from the organization’s grass-roots training and help support Israel in the process. The first gather will take place November 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt in DC. For more information, visit or call Gen Rivinius at 202-639-5310.
You need not be a partisan of any particular party in Israel to be involved in the efforts to support Israel. You need not endorse any particular strategy in pursuit of peace or security to advocate for Israel’s needs. You need not agree with everything AIPAC supports to support the overall agenda of AIPAC. But information and access are the keys to advocacy; the skills you can learn can enhance not only Israel’s cause, but other causes dear to your own heart.
If you cannot attend the event on November 12, ask AIPAC about other ways to learn. Thus ends the shameless plug.